The long awaited approval for the $6.9 billion ‘Gina Rinehart’s’ Alpha Coal Mine and rail project in Queensland has been the given the approval by the Hon. Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
“My approval follows a rigorous assessment process after I was forced to step in and complete the assessment. This has ensured the highest standards of environmental regulation were applied to this project, and I’m satisfied that we have now put in place the required additional conditions for the protection of the environment including the Great Barrier Reef.’’ he said.
The State Government says the project will create thousands of mining jobs and inject another $1 billion into the state’s economy each year. Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney says it is a major boost for the state. “The Galilee Basin generally is a huge resource for the people of Queensland for generations to come,” he said.
The Alpha mine and rail line to Abbot Point and the development of a port is now being planned by its owners, Indian conglomerate GVK and Hancock Prospecting. It’s expected the new mine will create many thousands of mining construction jobs as the infrastructure takes shape. The coal mine is located 40 kilometres north west of Alpha, 160km West of Emerald. The operational plan indicates coal exports of 30-megatonne-per-annum will begin in 2015 with a mine life of over 30 years.
In a town which has approx 20,000 people, this project is going to hit Emerald’s housing demand greatly, with 3600 Construction Jobs and 990 Operational Jobs on their way.