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Wiggins Island coal terminal and rail developments approved

<p>Queensland’s new $3.5bn Wiggins Island Coal Terminal had been given the green light for development, after the coordinator-general approved the environmental impact statement subject to conditions, infrastructure minister Paul Lucas said yesterday (Thursday, January 10).</p> <p>The three-stage terminal has been designed to cope with up to 84m tonnes a year, and more than 20 coal companies have expressed interest in the extra capacity.</p> <p>The Central Queensland Ports Authority and Queensland Rail plan to spend $1.3bn on Wiggins Island first stage, plus another $2.2bn in later stages. </p> <p>The first stage is expected to be completed by 2012. </p> <p>&#8220It has the potential to boost Gladstone’s coal exports by up to a third, or 25m tonnes, and generate up to $1.8bn in export earnings annually,&#8221 Mr Lucas said.</p> <p>&#8220Wiggins Island will greatly enhance Queensland’s ability to get our number one export across the seas to 33 potential markets.&#8221 </p> <p>The Wiggins Island Coal Terminal will now go before the Commonwealth Government for final endorsement. </p> <p>Construction could begin early in 2009, subject to the resolution of environmental issues at the federal level.</p> <p>From Saturday, the State Government will seek public comments on the associated Moura Link-Aldoga rail project, west of Gladstone and Calliope. </p> <p>A substantial upgrade to the area’s rail system was originally part of the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal proposal.</p> <p>However, QR outlined a new corridor to move coal to Gladstone Harbour after community concerns about additional coal trains were raised.</p> <p>&#8220The proposal is to now build a new track for coal trains from the Moura Short Line west of Calliope, to the North Coast Line southeast of Mt Larcom,&#8221 Mr Lucas said.</p> <p>Plans include a new a maintenance yard and locomotive provisioning facility near Aldoga and a doubling of track capacity &#8211 from two to four &#8211 on the North Coast Line between Aldoga and Wiggins Island.</p> <br />