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Pilbara gets a boost with flat-pack iron ore cars

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

BHP has announced an industry-first initiative to construct 140 flat-pack iron ore cars in the next four years.

BHP has announced an industry-first initiative to construct 140 flat-pack iron ore cars in the next four years.

The initiative will see BHP partner with UGL and QRRS, with state government support.

BHP has shipped ore car components from QRRS’s factory in China to UGL’s Bassendean facility as flat-packs, where the UGL team has assembled, welded and commissioned the cars before delivering them to BHP’s Pilbara operations.

Iron ore cars have traditionally been built offshore for over a decade. On average, BHP orders several hundred each year.

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.

At least 12 UGL jobs have been sustained through the project.

“BHP makes a significant contribution to the WA economy, and we want to keep building and strengthening that contribution through more local manufacturing,” BHP asset president WA iron ore Brandon Craig said.

“We are taking the first important step by working together with the expert teams at UGL and QRRS to build ore cars right here in WA.

“Through this investment we will support the WA manufacturing sector to strengthen its capability and create new opportunities for business growth and local employment.

“This is a terrific initiative that we’ve been able to develop with our partners and the West Australian Government, and we thank them for their support.”

Following the trial’s early success, BHP has committed to constructing an additional 120 cars over the next four years in WA, with the potential to create and sustain dozens more local jobs.

“I’m pleased to see BHP, QRRS and UGL collaborate on this industry-first initiative and look forward to seeing its capability build into a sustainable and long-term project,” Western Australia premier Mark McGowan said.

“We look forward to continuing this program with BHP and creating a strong and sustainable ore car assembly capability in the state,” UGL managing director Doug Moss said.

“We are proud to be the only Australian manufacturer of freight locomotives and we’re pleased to extend this capability through the re-introduction of rail ore car assembly into Australia, and particularly in Western Australia.”

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