A THERMAL coal mine expected to create about 3500 construction jobs and more than 2300 operational roles in Central Queensland is over the first environmental hurdle.
Queensland's Coordinator-General Barry Broe has approved the $6.4 billion mine and rail components to the Galilee Coal Project northern export facility with strict development and operating conditions.
The Waratah Coal project - expected to produce 40 million tonnes a year over a 30-year life span - proposes a combination of open cut and underground mining.
The Clive Palmer-owned company has agreed to offset the loss of values of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge and the Coordinator-General has set conditions on this offset.
A new 453km standard gauge, heavy haul railway line would link the mine, also known as the China First project, to a new coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen.
Mr Palmer said, combining the port development and all associated operations, the job creation could reach 6000 during construction and 2460 operationally.
To proceed, though, the Commonwealth Government also must assess and approve the project.
Waratah Coal managing director Nui Harris said the company would submit a final environmental impact statement with the Commonwealth in late October.
Mr Broe said his evaluation report, including the conditional approval, came after more than four years of rigorous environmental assessment and public consultation.
"I have stated a significant number of conditions and recommendations in my report that the proponent must implement fully," he said.
"The conditions establish clear principles and procedures to manage matters including surface and groundwater impacts, rail line flooding, and social impacts."
Mr Broe has now made 175 statutory decisions since he was appointed which is a decision-making rate almost three times higher than the previous government, when 62 decisions were made over an equivalent period.
State Development Minister Jeff Seeney called on the Commonwealth Government to work with Waratah Coal to expedite the assessment process.
"It is another major infrastructure decision for development of the Galilee Basin and I very much hope that the Commonwealth does not now hold up its approval and delay another vital project for the Queensland economy," he said.
To find the Coordinator-General's report, visit www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/cg/galileecoalproject.html