Surat Basin Rail project to proceed


Go-ahead given to Surat Basin Rail’s $1 billion “Southern Missing Link” project linking the Surat Basin with Gladstone Port

Surat Basin Rail project to proceed
Surat Basin Rail project to proceed

December 14, 2010

Queensland’s Coordinator General has given the go-ahead to Surat Basin Rail’s $1 billion "Southern Missing Link" project linking the Surat Basin with Gladstone Port.

A joint venture between ATEC Dawson Valley Railway, Xstrata Coal and QR National, SBR Surat Basin Rail (SBR) is proposing to develop 210 kilometres of new rail infrastructure.

The new
line
will connect the Western Railway system near Wandoan with the Moura Railway system near Banana, to link the Surat Basin with the proposed Wiggins Island Coal Terminal at the Port of Gladstone.

Known as the 'Southern Missing Link', the development will make approximately four billion tonnes of thermal coal reserves an economically
viable resource.

According to the Coordinator-General’s report, the SBR project is considered essential to help address coal export infrastructure constraints in central Queensland—in particular, delivering a potential solution to a missing link of rail infrastructure in Queensland.

"This project is one element of the broader coal export supply chain system in central Queensland and does provide an entire solution to coal export constraints through central Queensland," the report states.

"However the value of the project to the Queensland rail network will be enhanced by integrating it with several other major rail and port infrastructure projects that should become operational during the predicted construction period for this project."

Due to the conceptual nature of the project and the preliminary level of the information provided, the Coordinator-General has made recommendations and imposed conditions including further design development and environmental management plans.

"These are appropriate for the preliminary nature of the assessment at this stage and recognise that further detailed information will need to be provided as part of the development approval processes required before construction commences," the report says.

The greenfield rail infrastructure includes a single narrow gauge track with up to eight passing loops, capable of accommodating trains up to 2.5 kilometres in length, and will provide open access arrangements to multi-users.

Approximately 60 metres wide, the rail infrastructure corridor will include wider sections at passing loops and at significant cuttings and embankments.

It will be located wholly within the proposed Surat Basin Infrastructure Corridor State Development Area.

The project is expected to create up to 1000 jobs during the 33-month construction period and up to 44 jobs over its 50-year operational life.

Subject to approvals and conditions, construction is expected to commence in the 2011-12 financial year.

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