Waratah Coal status renewal may bring project more support

CLIVE Palmer's billion-dollar Central Queensland mine project was given a vote of confidence by the Federal Government yesterday which renewed its major project status.

Mr Palmer's Waratah Coal is trying to develop the $8 billion China First coal mine in the Galilee Basin, west of Rockhampton, which would export energy coal through port of Abbot Point near Bowen.

By having its standing reaffirmed by Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese, Waratah may be given extra support and a smoother approval process.

It will hold its "major project facilitation" status until the end of 2016, "by which time I understand significant progress towards developing the project will have been made," Mr Albanese said.

Waratah aims to first produce coal on the site in late 2016.

The project drew more than 4000 complaints when its environmental credentials were released to the public earlier this year, as Waratah planned to dig into the Bimblebox Nature Reserve.

Waratah is currently waiting on approvals of environmental impact statements from the Queensland and federal governments.