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A Pilbara council has cited health concerns regarding Rio Tinto’s plan to build a railway in close proximity to an asbestos-contaminated former town of Wittenoom.
The town was declared unfit for habitation because of the heavy presence of blue asbestos which was mined in the town until the late 1960s.
The Shire of Ashburton is concerned workers may be at risk, and wants to be free of litigation if the railway construction goes forward.
The line would link Rio’s Koodaideri project to its existing rail line. Koodaideri may become one of the biggest Pilbara’s iron ore mines, with over 70 million tonnes exported annually.
However some analysts believe the project’s US$ 3.2 billion cost may cause delays.
An Environmental Protection Authority spokesman said Rio’s Koodaideri project was being assessed at the highest level before a report went to the Environment Minister.
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