QR National and resources giant Rio Tinto have signed a 10 year performance based contract that will see  3 million tonnes of coal per annum moved from Rio Tinto's Blair Athol/ Clermont operations to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal (APCT).


The contract, which started this month, will aim to support  Rio Tinto’s investment in the Clermont thermal coal mine in central Queensland while leveraging QR National Network’s $1.1 billion Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) Expansion project.


The GAP project, which connects the Goonyella and Newlands coal systems, was officially opened by Acting Premier Andrew Fraser and QR National Chairman John Prescott in late December last year.


The new long-term contract is the second secured by QR National for coal haulage via the new GAP infrastructure, following an announcement in February 2011 of a 10-year contract with Jellinbah Resources to haul up to 6mtpa from the Lake Vermont mine to APCT.


QR National Managing Director and CEO Lance Hockridge said Rio Tinto was an important customer and QR National’s operational scale provides Rio Tinto surety, economies of scale and operational flexibility.