The Western Australian Government’s push to further develop a locally competitive and diverse steel fabrication industry, has taken another step with the development of a full feasibility study into the manufacturing and maintenance of iron ore railcar wagons in WA.
The Iron Ore Railcar Wagons Manufacturing and Maintenance Action Group, which comprises of major iron ore project proponents, steel fabricators, industry associations and union representatives, held its inaugural full feasibility study meeting on 30 September 2021.
Former Minister for Emergency Services and Corrective Services Francis Logan has been appointed as the new Chair of the Action Group.
The Action Group will explore the viability of manufacturing and maintaining iron ore railcar wagons and components in WA.
A pre-feasibility study completed by Keogh Bay in January 2021, identified initiatives for the manufacture, refurbishment and maintenance of iron ore railcar wagons.
Keogh Bay People, a registered Aboriginal business, has been re-engaged to deliver the full feasibility report which it is anticipated will be delivered during the first half of 2022.
As part of the WA Job Plan, the Government has committed to a $15 million Local Manufacturing Investment Fund, to assist local businesses.
The funding will enable WA manufacturers to retool their workshops with world-class technology to manufacture rail wagon parts and undertake research and development on innovative manufacturing techniques.
In a further boost, Rio Tinto has committed to using local suppliers to build 50 rail cars for its Pilbara operations.
Rio Tinto, who is a member of the Action Group, has also announced an ongoing commitment of 10 ore cars a year for at least the following five years.
Premier Mark McGowan said the independent pre-feasibility study had proven what his Government already knew.
“Western Australia has untapped potential to further support our major resource industries through local manufacturing,” he said.