Work on Indonesia’s first private railway in the East Kalimantan province will begin early next year, government officials have announced.

This follows clearance of government regulations over the plan that was proposed in July 2008 by the Middle East joint venture (JV) company MEC Infrastructure.

The 130km freight railway will link the Muara Wahau coal mine in East Kalimantan’s East Kutai district with the coast.

MEC Infrastructure, a JV of the UAE government of Ras al Khaimah and Dubai-based Trimex’s MEC Holdings, will spend nearly $1bn on the project.

Construction is expected to finish in 2012.