Ansaldo STS will deliver the first two phases of the system on the 342km heavy-haul line, which will link the new Roy Hill mine in the Chichester Range to the export terminal at Port Hedland.

The signalling system is technically significant because it involves centralised routing and ATP with satellite positioning. The contract includes voice-based and integrated electronic train order systems, centralised electronic interlocking, ATP, and communications-based protection for track maintenance vehicles.

A joint venture between Hancock Prospecting (85%) and steel producer Posco (15%), Roy Hill is expected to generate an annual output of around 55 million tonnes, and will begin production in 2014 with a forecast operating life of around 20 years. The mine will be served by five trains per day, each formed of 232 wagons and carrying 32,000 tonnes of iron ore.