The Western Australian Government has approved a 570km rail project that will provide a link between mid-west iron ore projects and a proposed deepwater port at Oakajee in the state’s mid-west region.

Western Australia premier and state development minister Colin Barnett said that the rail corridor approval will enable the troubled Oakajee Port and Rail consortium to proceed with detailed planning and design for the project, which will transport ore from the region’s north and east to Oakajee port.

The rail corridor will link the proposed Oakajee port, passing through the Moresby Range to a junction north-west of Mullewa linking the state freight rail network.

The line will then head north-east past the Tallering Peak project to Weld Range, and then north to Jack Hills.

The planned rail line will accommodate a standard gauge heavy freight railway similar to those in the Pilbara iron ore producing region in Western Australia.

Oakajee port project is a 50 / 50 joint venture between Murchison and Mitsubishi Development to export ore from the Jack Hills project.

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The Oakajee Port and Rail joint venture, led by Murchison Metals, was awarded the right in 2008 to develop the deepwater port, which has a capacity of 35Mtpa and an integrated rail network with a capacity to transport 100Mt of iron ore.