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Queensland's coordinator-general has approved a $2 billion major rail corridor in the state's central-west to open up mining projects in the Galilee Basin.
The Hancock rail corridor has been approved as an infrastructure facility of significance.
Hancock Coal wants to run a 495-kilometre standard gauge railway line from its proposed Alpha Coal mine to the port of Abbot Point, north of Mackay.
There are several other major coal developments being planned for the Galilee Basin, including Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmers's Waratah Coal project.
Queensland Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe says Hancock now has a defined corridor within which they can continue to study the feasibility of their plans.
The project is still to undergo an environmental impact statement and the company will also have to consult with landholders in the corridor's path.
Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler from Queensland's central-west region says the coordinator-general's approval of the proposed rail corridor in the Galilee Basin will create hundreds of jobs.
Cr Chandler says it is a great step forward.
"It's close to 500 kilometres of railway line - that's a big construction job," he said.
"There's still power and water to come in to get the mine set up to production stage."
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