Rio Tinto has welcomed the decision to keep its railway line in Western Australia closed to smaller iron ore miners. The Australian Competition Tribunal backed Treasurer Wayne Swan's decision to reject Fortescue Metals Group's application to open the rail line in Western Australia's Pilbara region to other users.
Fortescue Metals group wanted to use BHP Billiton's Mt Newman rail line. However the tribunal only said that BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto had to open their two smaller and lesser used railway lines to negotiations with third party haulers.
This would benefit smaller iron ore companies such as Atlas Iron and Aquila Resources. David Flanagan of Atlas expressed great happiness over the new possible negotiations with BHP Billiton over the rail line use.
Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said that he was pleased that the access application over the major Pilbara railway line had been refused. Mr. Walsh felt that the integrated operations of Rio Tinto would be severely disrupted if they were to allow third parties to operate trains on their railway system.