The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) in Australia has approved the construction of a $330m Wiggins Island Rail Project (WIRP).
The WIRP will connect the new Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) at Gladstone and mines in Southern Bowen and Surat Basins.
In September 2011, QR National's subsidiary QR Network signed agreements with a consortium of coal companies, including Bandanna Energy, Xstrata Coal, Aquila Resources, Caledon Resources, Northern Energy, Yancoal Australia, Wesfarmers Curragh and Cockatoo Coal, to build the coal-hauling rail project.
The haulage arrangement and financial close for the WICET were subject to approval by the QCA, which has now been satisfied, Bandana Energy confirmed.
The first railings are scheduled for mid-2014 and aligned with Stage 1 port capacity at the WICET, while the remaining works are expected to be completed by March 2015.
The new rail line, currently under construction, will be capable of hauling 27 million tonnes of coal every year to the terminal.
Last year, QR Network began discussions with users regarding proposed access conditions for the construction of rail infrastructure to support stage 1 of the proposed WICET development.
Queensland is planning to expand its coal haulage capacity by expanding its port capacity, including two new terminals at the Abbot Point port, while the Indian-based Adani group is expanding its terminal capacity from 50 to 85 million tonnes.
BHP Billiton and Hancock Prospecting are developing one terminal each that will have a capacity to handle around 30 million tonnes.