QUEENSLAND Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney last week announced an environmental assessment of the $1.2 billion Fitzroy Terminal Project will progress to the next stage.
Mr Seeney said the announcement cleared the way for the proponent to finalise its environmental impact statement (EIS) for the major terminal project between Rockhampton and Gladstone, which will assess the potential environmental, economic or social impacts of the proposal.
"I'm delighted that the Queensland Coordinator-General has approved the final terms of reference for the EIS for the proposed coal export facility. It means we are one step closer to knowing if the project is fit to be approved," Mr Seeney said.
The Minister said the proposed project has the potential to create nearly 400 jobs for the region and will help to meet the demand for essential coal export facilities, allowing up to 22 million tonnes of coal to be shipped out each year.
The facility would transport coal from the existing Blackwater and Moura rail networks via a 1.3 kilometre rail spur and also include a rail unloading facility, an overland conveyor system, stockyards and a barge loading terminal in Raglan Creek adjacent to Port Alma.
Mr Seeney said the overall objective of the project is to "alleviate bottlenecks at ports and use barges and transshipping technology to avoid the need for major port structures or significant dredging."
Mr Seeney said the Coordinator-General received 28 submissions from the public and advisory agencies on the draft terms of reference.
The proposed development is located about 50 kilometres south-east of Rockhampton at Port Alma and within the boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
"Based on the feedback received, we have improved the terms of reference to consider the protection of the marine environment and the management of coal handling around the existing industrial facility at Port Alma," he said.
"We will circulate the EIS to key community and industry groups and advertise for public comment when the Coordinator-General is satisfied that it adequately addresses the terms of reference," Mr Seeney said.