Clive Palmer’s $6.4 billion coal and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been approved by the state government.
Waratah Coal’s ‘China First’ project will include the construction of a coal mine and infrastructure project located near Alpha in Queensland’s central west.
The mine would be linked to the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen by a new 453km standard gauge, heavy haul railway line.
Queensland's coordinator-general said after evaluating Waratah Coal’s EIS, approval had been given subject to strict development and operating conditions.
The strict conditions include procedures to manage matters including surface and groundwater impacts, rail line flooding, and social impacts.
‘‘The proposed mitigation and management measures including a commitment to rehabilitate to pre-existing conditions as far as practicable, are appropriate to manage impacts and [make sure] that the long-term viability of species or their geographical distributional range is not threatened,” the report said.
The project is proposed to consist of a combination of open cut and underground mining and will produce 40 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum (Mtpa) over an expected life of about 30 years.
The project is expected to create 3500 construction jobs and more than 2300 operational jobs.
To proceed the project will also require Commonwealth assessment and approval.
Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris said state approval was an important milestone for the China First project.
"A Commonwealth EIS will now be lodged with the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for review. Subject to the Commonwealth review, it is anticipated a final EIS will be lodged with the Commonwealth for approval in late October."