Australian iron ore trains.

AUSTRALIA: A 'technically significant' contract to supply satellite positioning-based train control and protection technology for the 342 km heavy haul line to be built as part of the Roy Hill iron ore mining development in Western Australia was announced by Ansaldo STS Australia on May 2.

The two-year turnkey contract is worth A$151m. Ansaldo STS will supply technology for voice-based communications, integrated electronic train order systems, centralised interlocking, automatic train protection with satellite-based train location, as well as communications-based protection of maintenance vehicles and on-track plant.

The supplier said the communications-based signalling 'sets a new benchmark for operational flexibility and upgradability' for heavy haul railways, and would offer the option to introduce automated operation in the future.

Ore production at Roy Hill is scheduled to begin in 2014, and is expected to reach 55 mtpa with five daily 232-wagon trains.