Palmer’s Waratah Coal, which plans to build a thermal coal mine near Alpha, would be linked to a new coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen by a new 453km standard-gauge, heavy-haul railway line.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, in a letter to Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris, said he had renewed the MPF status to December 31, 2016, “by which time I understand significant progress towards developing the project will have been made”.
“I have written to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, several of my ministerial colleagues and the Hon. Campbell Newman, Premier of Queensland, informing them of my decision to grant MPF status to your project and seeking their active cooperation in assisting the project,” Albanese said.
Palmer said establishing the mine and associated infrastructure would create 6000 jobs during construction and 1500 during operation.
Harris said the China First development had already been declared a significant project by the Queensland government and the renewal of its MPF status was a major step forward.
“MPF status provides a service to support a timely and efficient approvals process for the proposed development,” he said.
“We are delighted with this decision by Minister Albanese and it is a major milestone for one of the most significant projects in the history of the state of Queensland.
“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 Coal is awaiting approval of an environmental impact statement and a supplementary EIS for the project from the Queensland coordinator-general and the federal environment minister.