The Federal Government has put Waratah Coal’s proposed $7.5 billion ‘China First’ coal project in the fast-lane, yesterday granting it Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status.
According to the company’s chief executive Peter Lynch, MPF status will the give the central Queensland development access to a more a timely and efficient approvals process.
Waratah, owned by billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer, is planning to build a thermal coal mine near Alpha, in the Galilee Basin.
The China First project would also include a new 490 km heavy haul railway line that would link the mine to the Abbot Point port.
The mine will be complemented by the $1.25 billion Galilee Power Project; a clean coal power station that will incorporate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.
According to Palmer, the mine and associated infrastructure is expected to create 6000 jobs during construction and 1500 during operation.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese acknowledged the project would deliver “considerable benefits” to the national economy if it went ahead.
The mine had already been deemed a ‘Significant Project’ by the Queensland Government.
According to Lynch, the decision will give the project a major boost.
“We are delighted with this decision by the Minister and it is a major milestone for one of the most significant projects in the history of the state of Queensland,” he said.
“The China First development will open up a massive new energy resource in the Galilee Basin and benefit both the Queensland and national economy.”
Waratah has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Metallurgical Corporation of China to develop the mine.