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Environmental terms of reference issued for NQ’s missing rail link

<p>The terms of reference for the environmental impact statement into the $600m Northern Missing Link Project on Queensland’s coal rail network, has been finalised after a month of public comment.</p> <p>The project links the North Goonyella and Newlands Rail systems to increase the capacity and flexibility of Queensland’s coal export infrastructure.</p> <p>Queensland premier Peter Beattie said the finalisation of the terms of reference means Queensland Rail can finalise the environmental impact statement required under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.</p> <p>"Completion of the Northern Missing Link project will mean that coal could be railed from central Queensland to Abbot Point," Mr Beattie said. "In addition, coal from Newlands could be railed to ports at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay."</p> <p>The project depends on construction of the stage three expansion of Abbot Point Coal Terminal that will allow coal mines operating in central Queensland, to choose between Abbot Point and Dalrymple Bay as export ports.</p> <p>Mr Beattie said this choice was strategically important as rail and handling facilities at Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay, were approaching maximum capacity.</p> <p>"It will also allow coal to be blended to customer requirements, foster new mines and provide an emergency link should the North Coast Line ever become impassable," he said.</p> <p>The coordinator-general is due to report on the environmental impact statement early next year to help the Queensland Government and the coal industry determine the viability and suitability of the project.</p> <br />