Environmental approval has been granted for southern Queensland’s ‘missing rail link’.
The Bligh Government announced the approval of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the construction of a billion dollar rail line between Wandoan in the Surat Basin and the town of Banana, which is on the rail link to the port of Gladstone.
Currently, coal mines with the Surat Basin are forced to export via the distant Port of Brisbane.
This line at Wandoan comes on the back of Xstrata’s plan for the nation’s largest open cut coal mine in the region, which would export approximately 30 million tonnes per annum.
The increased number of trains needed to service this coal mine would not be welcome in Brisbane, and will now instead travel north along the new line to the Port of Gladstone.
The port is also being upgraded to handle this increased coal output, with Xstrata looking at potentially constructing new ports at Balaclava Island, near port Alma, north of Gladstone.