The Australian federal Government has approved the construction of a new 310km railway line for Adani Mining’s $15bn coal mine in Australia.
The A$2.2bn ($1.94bn) rail project will connect the Carmichael coal mine west of Moranbah to the port of Abbot Point, creating around 2,400 jobs.
The standard gauge rail line will transport around 60 million tonnes of coal a year.
Adani Mining CEO Jeyakumar Janakaraj was quoted by Reuters as saying: "Today’s approval is a significant milestone in the life of our integrated mine, rail and port project, helping transition from approvals to the build phase."
The North Galilee Basin rail project received approval from the Queensland Government in mid August of this year, but has been waiting for consent from Environment Minister Greg Hunt to proceed with the construction.
Prior to starting construction, Adani must submit a biodiversity offset strategy two months in advance of works.
Construction of the rail line will be completed in two years, during which time it is estimated to generate $790m for the Mackay region and more than $900m for the state economy.
The $15bn Carmichael project is expected to produce coal that will be used to generate power.
Meanwhile, environmental groups including the Mackay Conservation Group have opposed the rail line fearing that it will increase flooding and damage farming land in Central Queensland.
Mackay Conservation Group spokeswoman Dr Moira Williams was quoted by Mining Australia as saying: "Graziers through central Queensland are facing major disruptions to their operations from the rail line which will bisect properties, interrupt cattle movements, alter surface water flow and reduce access to land.
"Both the state and federal governments have completely disregarded concerns from local landholders and this latest approval is yet another example of the LNP putting the profits of overseas mining companies at the expense of existing industries like agriculture."