The Queensland government of Australia has approved the development of two new rail corridors to serve the state's coal mines in the Galilee and Bowen basins.
Under the development, QR National will build a new A$2bn east-west corridor to transport coal from the Galilee basin to the Queensland coast.
The new corridor will extend the existing QR National rail network from Moranbah to the central Galilee Basin and provide links to the coal ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Dudgeon Point.
A 500km north-south rail corridor is based on the proposal by GVK-Hancock to carry coal from the southern Galilee Basin to Abbot Point.
Queensland Minister for state development, infrastructure and planning Jeff Seeney said that after negotiations with all the mine proponents he believes that the responsible development of the Galilee Basin can be achieved by defining an east-west extension of the QRN network and a north-south corridor to facilitate a new standard gauge line.
"The Government will work towards declaring state development areas to define these two preferred corridors within which the government's powers of compulsory land acquisition can be exercised to bring about our clearly stated policy outcomes of a coordinated approach to railway development," Seeney said.
Currently, the east-west extension is being developed by QR National and Adani and offers a staged development of mine, rail and port capacity for the Galilee Basin in the short term.
The government said that it will support an expansion of capacity on the existing QRN alignment north to Abbot Point and also the development of coal-line standard for the existing rail line from Alpha to Emerald.
QR National managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge said that the expansion would be undertaken in consultation with customers to ensure alignment with development plans and to support the growth of the Queensland resources sector.
"The first stage will be to expand the current capacity on the Goonyella / Newlands corridors by at least 25 million tonnes per annum to 75 million tonnes per annum by duplicating sections of Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP)," Hockridge said.
"Part of our design of GAP was to accommodate flexibility for future growth and expandability in line with demand as the Queensland resource sector grows."