Rail link approval to boost coal supply chain

QR project linking the Moura-Gladstone line with Aldoga Industrial precinct north of Gladstone gets conditional approval

October 8, 2009

The Central Queensland regional coal industry is on track to receive a major boost following conditional approval for a QR project linking the Moura-Gladstone line with the Aldoga Industrial precinct north of Gladstone.

Premier Anna Bligh says Queensland Coordinator-General Colin Jensen has signed off on the project's environmental impact statement (EIS).

"The Moura Link and Aldoga Rail Yard are key pieces of infrastructure in the Central Queensland regional coal supply chain," she says.

"The project has a capital value of $500 million and will require a construction workforce peaking at 350, and around 700 new jobs will be created when the new facilities open.

"Construction could begin late next year on the project which includes a new rail link from the Moura Short Line into the Aldoga Industrial precinct north of Gladstone, and a rolling stock maintenance yard and provisioning facilities at Aldoga in the north of the Gladstone State Development Area.

"The North Coast line, just east of Yarwun, will also effectively quadruple in size to ensure more efficient movement of coal and freight in and out of Gladstone.

"These projects are needed to keep up with growing demand in the coal industry and it is that demand that proves this industry will continued to provide thousands of jobs no matter who owns the infrastructure that transports coal to our ports."

The Coordinator-General's Report recommends that the Moura Link-Aldoga Rail Project can proceed subject to a range of conditions.

Jensen says he has made his decision based on a rigorous environmental assessment and following community consultation through the EIS process.

"The new line would carry rail traffic from Moura and Surat in the south, diverting rail traffic through less-populated areas to the immediate north of greater Gladstone, to the existing North Coast line south-east of Mount Larcom," he says.

"This will ensure a quick, direct link between the coal fields and the industrial centre, with minimum impact to the population centre of Gladstone.

"The benefits for both industry and residents are that coal will be transported more efficiently, and noise and coal dust impacts will be minimised."

The Moura-Aldoga project will be developed in parallel to, and service, a number of facilities, including the proposed new Wiggins Island Coal Terminal in the Port of Gladstone.

Subject to a formal development approval by Gladstone Regional Council and the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, and finalisation of some operational works approvals, construction is expected to begin in late 2010/early 2011, with operations starting two years later.

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