Downer EDI has received a A$292m ($312.84m) contract from mining major BHP Billiton to supply Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) SD70ACe/LCi diesel locomotives for use on its heavy-haul iron-ore network in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Downer said that if all options of the contract are exercised, the total value of the contract could reach A$400m ($428.56m).

As per the deal, Downer will supply Electro-Motive Diesel locomotives over the next five years, with the first new locomotives expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2012.

Downer chief executive officer Grant Fenn said: "The ability of Downer and Electro-Motive Diesel to provide support at the front line has been second to none and underpins this deal."

"Integral with this contact is the further build up of Downer support for customers in Western Australia," Fenn said.

All components and systems of the SD70ACe/LCi locomotives have been designed and manufactured by EMD while Downer EDI will carry out final assembly in Australia.

In 2004, BHP Billiton had ordered its first batch of SD70Ace/LCs for the Pilbara network and so far 74 units have been delivered.

Powered by EMD’s 16-710 diesel engine and rated at 3.21MW, the locomotives’ engine and cooling system has been specially adjusted to operate at high temperatures in the region.

The recent contract follows a rolling stock supply contract awarded by TasRail, Tasmania’s state-owned rail company in December last year to Downer and Progress Rail USA, to design, build and deliver 17 new PR22L locomotives.

The first new locomotives are expected to be delivered in mid-2013, while the total value of the project is over A$60m ($64.28m).

Progress Rail USA and EMD have designed and built the key components and systems of the PR22L locomotive.