INDIAN mining giant Adani has proposed building a new 300-kilometre railway to ship coal from its yet to be constructed Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point.
The Referral of Proposed Action for the project was lodged with the Federal Environment Department yesterday. The company already had plans to link on to the existing railway network at Moranbah, however, maps show the new route would leave the linking railway about 100km west of the town, at Mistake Creek.
The announcement has fuelled speculation Adani has deemed it more financially viable to export coal exclusively through Abbot Point, rather than also sending it south to the proposed Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal.
A company spokeswoman said if approved, the railway would transport 100 megatonnes of coal each year.
"Adani's proposed Carmichael Mine and Rail Project will deliver many benefits to the local, state and national economies," she said.
During construction, the combined mine and rail project is tipped to deliver the equivalent of 378 jobs to the area and a total of 1192 full-time jobs across the state.
But the move runs against State Government wishes for two multi-purpose railway corridors to service Galilee mines.
In June last year, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said multi-use railways were preferable to creating a "spaghetti-like mess" across Central Queensland.
Yesterday Mr Seeney said the application would be "considered in due course".
Meanwhile, Adani said it was "happy to work with other proponents to help transport coal from mine to port".
If approved, the railway would cut a swathe through mostly grazing properties from the Northern Galilee Basin all the way to port north of Bowen - a proposal that has environmentalists worried.
Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Patricia Julien said the railway would impact "ecological connectivity" from east to west. Once fully operational, the $5.9 billion Carmichael Coal Mine is expected to produce 60 million tonnes of coal for electricity production in India each year.
If approvals go well, production could begin in 2016.
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