Palmer's CQ China First project edges closer to fruition

BILLIONAIRE magnate Clive Palmer's ambitious China First coal project in Central Queensland has moved closer to development following a new release from the State.

This "supplementary environmental impact statement" gives more detail on the enormous scale of the $8.1 billion project.

Mr Palmer is planning a $4 billion thermal coal mine that would export its material via a $2.1 billion rail line and $2 billion in port infrastructure at Abbot Point terminal near Bowen.

During construction in the Galilee Basin, west of Rockhampton and Mackay, Waratah will hire 3500, with 2360 needed for once mining begins.

Of the 1900 of those based in western Queensland, 1872 will be flown to and from the site, with just 28 to be housed in the nearby township of Alpha.

The other 460 workers will be shared between the rail and port aspects of the development.

A 495km railway line connecting one of Waratah's peers - GVK Hancock, an alliance between Indian giant GVK and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting - has already been given strong support from the Queensland Government.

The extra information provided to the government was to answer questions raised when the mine plan was initially released, including concerns over underground mining, transport and potential damage to plants and animals, transport.

The latest release of information meant the public could again tell the government what it thought of the plan.

Whether China First goes ahead will depend on it scoring environmental approvals from both the Queensland and Federal Governments.

Mr Palmer made his first application to develop the mine in late 2008.