Adani’s plans to build a new $16 billion coal mine are a step closer after the Federal government approved a new 310km railway that will link the operation to the port.
The North Galilee Basin Rail project was given the green light by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who placed 23 conditions on the proposal.
The rail line will link Adani’s yet-to-be-built Carmichael mine to already established rail lines in the Bowen Basin.
Capable of carrying 60 million tonnes of coal per year, the commodity will then be exported through Abbott Point coal terminal.
The government said the rail project, worth $2.2 billion, will create 2000 jobs during construction and around 370 operational roles.
As part of the approval, Adani will have to submit a biodiversity offset strategy two months before it starts construction on the rail lines.
The company is also required to publish a compliance report every year during construction and work to protect threatened species.
Hunt said construction of the rail line must start in five years, or written consent will again need to be sought from the Environment Minister.
The Mackay Conservation Group claims the rail line will increase flooding and damage farming land in Central Queensland.
“Graziers through central Queensland are facing major disruptions to their operations from the rail line which will bisect properties, interrupt cattle movements, alter surface water flow, and reduce access to land,” Dr Moira Williams of Mackay Conservation Group said.
“Both the State and Federal governments have completely disregarded concerns from local landholders, and this latest approval is yet another example of the LNP putting the profits of overseas mining companies at the expense of existing industries like agriculture.”
Sixteen landholders between Mistake Creek, near Moranbah, and Abbot Point face mandatory land acquisitions, with the process around this starting last month.
First production at Carmichael mine is expected in 2017.
Adani said the project will create in excess of 10,000 jobs