Palmer's new mine will destroy 4000 hectares of reserve

A NEWLY-approved coalmine owned by billionaire magnate and political hopeful Clive Palmer is likely to destroy 50% of an 8000-hectare nature reserve in Western Queensland.

The Galilee Coal Project - once named China First - was given approval by the Queensland Government on Friday, although a suite of green lights were still be needed from the Commonwealth before it could proceed.

A large area of Waratah Coal's mining area falls within the Bimblebox Nature Reserve, an area environmental advocates believe is home to a number of rare and endangered species.

According to a report into the project by Queensland Coordinator-General Barry Broe, he conceded the reserve would be "significantly impacted" by the coalmine but believed that was no reason to halt the project.

He said: "I am satisfied that Waratah has adequately assessed the environmental values of the (reserve), identified impacts, proposed migration measures and committed to provide compensation for significant residual impacts by way of offsets".

Mr Broe also accepted Waratah Coal's plans for a new 453km rail connection to Abbot Point coal terminal north of Bowen.

The Coordinator-General warns a further approval would be needed at a state level because Waratah's plans clash with those of fellow Galilee developer GVK Hancock.

Meanwhile, a decision on plans to expand Abbot Point will delayed by Federal Environment Minister Mark Butler.

The result was due on Friday but a final result will now not be known for three months.

Mr Palmer's $6.4 billion operation is projected to create 6000 construction jobs plus another 2460 once it begins mining.

It has the capacity to mine 40 million tonnes a year for 30 years through a combination of open-cut and underground elements.



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