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New infrastructure plans increase access to future mines

New infrastructure plans increase access to future mines

Approved rail corridors will facilitate new mines in Queensland's interior.

The basin covers 247,000 square km of land and contains very large amounts of high-quality, low-sulphur coal, according to the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning.

In June, this project took another step closer to completion, with the government finalising the Galilee Development Area, which sets the potential routes which mining companies can use for rail tracks to and from the mining operations.

The two routes, one going south and one west from the basin, are the first step towards realising the possibilities of the region.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney suggested that these development corridors would be refined further as the project moved closer to realisation.

“There will be further reductions [in the rail routes] to come. Currently the State Development Area is around 500 metres wide, however once more detailed rail line designs are finalised and approved by the Coordinator-General, the rail corridor will be reduced to about 60 to 100 metres wide,” said Mr Seeney.

Once approved, these routes would be subject to strict controls, especially when it came to flood mitigation, given the numerous floods in Queensland over the last few years.

Regional development unlocked by future mines

Once the necessary infrastructure like rail lines are put in place, the state government has forecast very high job growth to follow. The area is expected to see $28.4 billion in investment which is needed to begin mining operations.

The construction phase of these projects will require a large number of workers. Queensland’s government has estimated 15,000 jobs will be created for the building stage, across both the mines and related infrastructure.

Once operational, these projects are expected to create 13,000 jobs over the lifetime of the six mines currently planned for the area.

For entry level employees, these projects may be an ideal way to get into a mining apprenticeship, given how many positions will be created over the coming years.

Mr Seeney emphasised the opportunities that would come from mining companies investing in the area.

“Companies that are currently investigating opening mines in the Galilee Basin are contemplating many billions of dollars of investments,” Mr Seeney said.

“The Galilee Basin Development Strategy is designed to encourage first movers – those proponents whom the government consider would play a vital role in opening up the basin for their own projects and opening up the basin for other miners as well.”

By Leanne de Toerkenczy, Public Relations Coordinator

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