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Transport & Logistics

Rail and resource heavyweights come together at Heavy Haul Rail 2012

3 Sep 2012, by Informa Insights

The 2nd Annual Heavy Haul Rail Conference, which took place on the 28th – 29th August 2012 in Newcastle, saw 220 representatives from across the rail and resource sectors converge on Newcastle to discuss exciting plans for rail infrastructure to support the mining industry in the years to come.

Once again, the event was a huge success. With representation from the likes of Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals Group, Oakajee Port and Rail, QR National, Asciano and ARTC – to name a few – delegates certainly made the most of the outstanding networking opportunities on offer. Here is what some had to say:

“Good learning and networking experience”

“Enjoyed the sessions tremendously, keep it up!”

“Great networking”

“Great to see the conference grow from 2011 – Can’t wait for HHR13”


In 2012 the networking began well before the conference officially opened, at the Heavy Haul Rail Welcome Reception. Sponsored by Hatch, attendees enjoyed some pre-conference canapés and drinks in the relaxed setting of the Silo Bar on Newcastle’s picturesque Honeysuckle Wharf.

And, in the conference room, first day of the Heavy Haul Rail program brought some insightful discussions.

Aurecon’s Ken Devencorn discussed why mineral development has less to do with mining than it does with Heavy Haul Rail. Ken stressed that improving the operational efficiency of its logistics chain is now one of the most crucial factors for a mining project.

Rio Tinto’s General Manager of Railways Heath Harnden, provided delegates with some invaluable insights into Rio Tinto’s integrated iron ore production process and the role that rail does, and will, play.

Pacific National’s Coal Director, David Irwin gave his views on designing and delivering an outstanding haulage performance, pointing to the emphasis miners place on operation costs before East West Parks board director, Greg O’Rourke spoke on the company’s Iron Boomerang project, which proposes a 3,300km rail line to link between the iron ore mines in the Pilbara and the Bowen Basin’s coal mines.

Attendees also enjoyed looking around the conference exhibition during the networking breaks with some fantastic exhibits from OEM Technology Solutions, Rail Personnel, Faiveley Transport, VAE, Aurecon, Leighton Contractors, ComSteel, Blackbox Control, McLeod Rail, Sulzer Dowding & Mills, Heavy Haul Track Systems and Trackside Intelligence.

And, for the first time, delegates were able to unwind and network in a relaxed and casual setting after a day in the conference room at the Heavy Haul Rail Dinner, held at the Merewether Surf House on the evening of August 28th.

Day two of the conference saw some insightful discussions, in particular, from Rio Tinto’s Manager Track and Signals Maintenance Bazil Miller who shared insights into maintenance and renewal of assets across Rio Tinto’s rail network.

Delegates were also privy to a fantastic presentation by Ravi Ravitharan, Director, Institute of Railway Technology, Monash University, who talked over Australian research and technology to meet the challenges of heavy haul railway systems.

And proceedings were wrapped up with a panel discussion on applying innovative thinking to engineering and manufacturing for the heavy haul rail sector.

The Australasian Railway Association is very pleased with the industry’s response to Heavy Haul Rail and look forward to seeing you in 2013.

Many thanks to our fantastic sponsors for their support of this event:
Platinum Sponsor: Leighton Contractors
Gold Sponsor: Comsteel
Silver Satchel and Lanyard Sponsor: Aurecon
Silver Welcome Reception Sponsor: Hatch
Networking Break Sponsor: Transfield Services

The ARA also welcomes any feedback or suggestions you may have for the Heavy Haul Rail 2013 program. Please contact Conference Manager Kara Clifton

Click here to view the photos from Heavy Haul Rail 2012.

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