A Bill for developing the railway line for the planned Balla Balla infrastructure project is progressing through WA Parliament.

The Railway (BBI Rail Aus Pty Ltd) Agreement Bill 2017, introduced in September, would authorise a State Agreement between the State Government and proponents of the Pilbara project, for the operation of a heavy haulage railway to link inland iron ore mines to a transhipment port at Balla Balla.

Reading the Bill for a second time in the Upper House took place earlier this month, with Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan saying the agreement set out how the railway would be owned, managed and operated by operators.

“The BBI railway will consist of 160 kilometres of standard-gauge heavy haulage railway connecting Balla Balla port with the railhead stockyard and into the central Pilbara region,” she said.

“The agreement for the carriage of ore will be for not less than 20 years and not less than 25 million tonnes per annum from the PIOP and must be in place at the time the BBI (Balla Balla Infrastructure) group submits proposals to the minister for approval.”

Ms MacTiernan said the BBI Group intended to operate the railway on an open-access basis, though that could change to haulage services, subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission decision, and could later expand its capacity with extra rail spur lines to accommodate more tonnage.

She noted the Bill had Upper House support from both major parties.