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A $6.4 billion coal and rail project in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland has been approved by the Federal Government.

Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal will construct the coal mine and rail infrastructure as part of its ‘China First’ project near Alpha in Central West Queensland.

The project also involves the construction of a 453km rail line connecting the mine to the proposed Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approved the environmental impact statement for the project subject to 49 conditions that will ensure environment protection.

Waratah Coal Managing Direct Nui Harris said the project would create thousands of jobs and be an asset to the region, ABC reported.

“The reality is that the project will develop jobs, with a total of 6,000 jobs all up, seeing the mine link up with the rail and the port and it won’t be taking away with the local community it’ll be adding jobs to the local community,” Mr Harris said.

The proposed mine is expected to open in late 2016 or early 2017 and have a life of approximately 30 years