IN an effort to address conflicting proposals put forward by coal mining companies for new railways to serve the coalfields of the Galilee and Bowen Basins, the state government of Queensland has announced its preferred options for two new lines in the region.
A proposed east-west corridor would extend the QR National (QRN) narrow-gauge network from Moranbah to the central Galilee Basin, providing links to the ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Dudgeon Point.
The government also says it will allocate a corridor for a line that will serve several large mines proposed in the southern Galilee area. This will straddle the alignment being proposed by GVK-Hancock Coal for a new 500km standard-gauge line north to Abbot Point. These are the only two corridors where the government is likely to use its powers to compulsorily acquire land for new rail projects.
The state government says that there will be the option for other mining proponents to co-locate their own lines within the north-south corridor should they consider that to be more commercially viable. BHP Billiton has already indicated a preference for its own infrastructure.