Leighton Asia awarded US$338 million Mongolian rail contract

leightons-Ukhaakhudag-Coal-Mine

Leighton Asia has secured a US$338 million contract to construct a new freight rail line in southern Mongolia.

Energy Resources LLC has awarded Leighton Asia the design and build contract for the Ukhaa Khudag to Gashuun Sukhait freight railway in the South Gobi region of Mongolia. The main purpose of the rail project is to provide infrastructure to transport coal from the southern Mongolian coal fields to China. The railway commences at the Ukhaa Khudag Coal Mine, where Leighton Asia has a six year coal mining contract, and travels 225 kilometres to the international border crossing between Mongolia and China at Gashuun Sukhait.

The railway will be designed for an annual capacity of 28 million tonnes of coal per annum which will be carried in 1.8 kilometre long trains. Leighton Asia’s scope of work under the contract includes the design and construction of earthworks, structures and the rail line associated with the permanent alignment as well as works for the depots, workshops, maintenance facilities and administration buildings. The contract also includes the maintenance of the infrastructure for a period of four years.

It is planned for the construction works to commence in March 2010 with completion scheduled for mid 2011.

Leighton Asia established its Mongolian office in Ulaanbataar in mid 2008 and secured its first contract for the development and mining of the Ukhaa Khudag (UHG) Coal Mine later in the same year. Coal production commenced at the UHG mine in April 2009.

“The award of this significant infrastructure project is a result of our commitment to the Mongolian market and our ability to bring international experience and local knowledge to projects of this type which pose a range of technical, community and environmental challenges,” said Hamish Tyrwhitt, Leighton Asia’s managing director. “We have a very strong working relationship with Energy Resources who are also our client for the UHG Coal Mine contract.”

“The railway project poses unique environmental challenges exacerbated by harsh geographic and climatic conditions. Our proven comprehensive environmental and community relations management plans implemented at the UHG mine will be extended to address the environmental issues associated with the railway construction,” Mr Tyrwhitt said.

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