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Mr Palmer's company, Waratah Coal, is planning a massive new mine and associated infrastructure near Alpha in the Galilee Basin.
He says the project will create 6000 jobs during construction and 2460 jobs during operation “in a massive boost to the state and national economies”.
A rail line between the mine and the Abbot Point port, south of Townsville, is part of the project.
Queensland's co-ordinator-general today said he had evaluated Waratah's environmental impact statement, and approvals had been given subject to strict development and operating conditions.
The Queensland government says if those conditions are met there could potentially be two major coal railways between the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point.
A consortium including Aurizon and Gina Rinehart's joint-venture, GVK Hancock, has already been approved to build one rail line.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney tried to get all parties to agree on a single corridor last year.
He said at the time that if more went ahead central Queensland would look like “a twisted mess of lines on a map”.
The Galilee Coal project involves clearing thousands of hectares of vegetation on the Bimblebox nature refuge that is the habitat of the endangered black-throated finch.
Mr Palmer has downplayed the site's environmental significance, arguing it is a former grazing property that's been degraded by cattle for more than 40 years and almost devoid of vegetation.
But two botanists who conducted a flora survey there last year found more than 220 different types of plants in two days.
The strict conditions include drafting up species management, weed management, bushfire, erosion, water and rehabilitation plans.
The co-ordinator-general said while some destruction of habitat was inevitable because of the nature and scale of the project, it wouldn't have permanent impacts on the wildlife.
“Whilst habitat will be removed from cleared areas, significant habitat will remain in adjacent areas that will continue to provide habitat, albeit at lower value,” the report said.
“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.”
Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris said a Commonwealth EIS would be lodged with federal government for review.
“Subject to the commonwealth review, it is anticipated a final EIS will be lodged with the commonwealth for approval in late October,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile United Nations' environment arm says plans to build one of the world's largest coal ports at Abbot Point, near the Great Barrier Reef, should be put on hold.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee says the Australian government failed to tell it about plans to expand three terminals at Abbot Point.
UNESCO program specialist Marc Patry says he's surprised the federal government failed to inform the organisation of the plan.
“Generally speaking it's the procedure that we are told about big projects,” he told Guardian Australia.
“But we haven't heard anything from the government, as far as I understand.”
The World Heritage Committee has sent a letter to the federal government requesting information about the Abbot Point project.
Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler is expected to decide today whether to allow the dredging of three million tonnes of soil to expand Abbot Point.
Port authority North Queensland Bulk Ports have proposed dumping the soil within the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area.
Mr Patry says the plans should be put on hold to allow more time to assess any impact the project may have on the reef.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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