Miners Looking to Buy into Queensland Rail

Anna Bligh, the Queensland Premier announced that the state government is carefully considering an offer made by a consortium of coal companies to buy the state's coal rail tracks. Members of the consortium including BHP Billiton, Xstrata Plc and 11 other coal producers have made an offer of AUD$4.85 billion to the Queensland government.

The state run rail provider Queensland Rail (QR) has assets worth Australian $12 billion and was split up last month into Queensland Rail for passenger trains and service and QR National for transport and logistics business, which includes coal and freight train services.

This was part of the government's process for preparing a float of QR National in the final quarter of 2010 which would privatise the state's coal and bulk freight tracks and trains. Queensland Rail has met with around 60 potential initial sale investors.

The planned IPO is limited to the Queensland Rail tracks and trains while the mining companies have bid only for the rail network. While Ms Bligh refused to confirm any details she told reporters on Tuesday that the government was seriously considering the offer from the consortium.

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