A new vital transport link for Australia's Queensland coal industry has officially been opened by Acting Queensland Premier, Treasurer Andrew Fraser and QR National Chairman John Prescott, the largest Australian rail freight operator said on Monday.
QR National said the newly-constructed Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) rail link, north of Moranbah in central Queensland, increased the capacity of the state's coal exports by 50 million tonnes a year.
Prescott said QR National had created an extraordinary growth opportunity for the Australian resources industry by bridging the 69-kilometer gap between the Goonyella and Newlands rail systems.Fraser congratulated QR National, and its partners for delivering the 1.1 billion AU dollars (1.09 billion U.S. dollars) project under budget and ahead of schedule, despite the catastrophic January floods.
"Now that QR National is a publicly listed company it has the ability to make this type of investment that benefits all Queenslanders, without taxpayers having to foot the bill," he said.
Prescott said that, in combination with the company's other expansions, the link provided an extra 70 million tonnes of rail capacity over the next three years."This means QR National's central Queensland coal network will have the capacity to move more than 300 million tonnes of coal per annum by 2015," Prescott said in a statement.
QR National Managing Director Lance Hockridge said the GAP project supported thousands of jobs in the mining and construction industries and was a key driver for economic growth in regional Queensland.