BHP said it is collaborating with UGL and QRRS in an initiative backed by the Western Australian government to construct “flat pack” iron ore cars that will help boost capacity in the state’s manufacturing sector.
BHP asset president for WA iron ore Brandon Craig said 140 flat packs will be constructed over four years in Perth. An initial trial was already conducted that saw ore car components shipped by BHP from QRRS’s factory in China to UGL’s Bassendean facility. There, UGL assembled, welded and commissioned the cars before delivering them to BHP’s Pilbara operations.
“For over a decade, iron ore cars have traditionally been built offshore. On average, BHP orders several hundred each year,” Craig said, noting that, after the trial’s early success, it has now committed to building 120 more.
“To date, five iron ore cars have been completed and delivered to the Pilbara. A further 15 are due to be built and delivered by February 2023,” the miner said.
UGL Managing Director Doug Moss said the company is happy to be the only Australian manufacturer of freight locomotives and to extend capabilities through the re-introduction of rail ore car assembly into Australia, and particularly in Western Australia.
“We look forward to continuing this program with BHP and creating a strong and sustainable ore car assembly capability in the state.”