Waratah Coal’s proposed $8 billion, Galilee Coal Project mine and infrastructure development in Central Queensland has been boosted by the federal government renewing its Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status.

Brisbane-based Waratah Coal, owned by Professor Clive Palmer, plans to build a thermal coal mine in the new Galilee Basin coal region near Alpha, west of Emerald, as part of its “Galilee Coal” project.

The mine would be linked to a new coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen by a new 453km standard gauge, heavy haul railway line.

Professor Palmer said establishing the mine and associated infrastructure will create 6,000 jobs during construction and 1,500 during operation.

Federal Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, in a letter to Waratah Coal Managing Director Nui Harris, said he had renewed the MPF status to December 31, 2016, “by which time I understand significant progress towards developing the project will have been made”.

“I have written to the Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, several of my ministerial colleagues and the Hon. Campbell Newman, Premier of Queensland, informing them of my decision to grant MPF status to your project and seeking their active cooperation in assisting the project,” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Harris said the project development had already been declared “Significant Project” by the Queensland government and the renewal of its MPF status was a major step forward for the project.

“MPF status provides a service to support a timely and efficient approvals process for the proposed development,” he said.

“We are delighted with this decision by Minister Albanese and it is a major milestone for one of the most significant projects in the history of the state of Queensland.

“The project development will open up a massive new energy resource in the Galilee Basin and benefit both the Queensland and national economy.”

Waratah Coal is awaiting approval of an Environmental Impact Statement and a Supplementary EIS for the project from the Queensland Coordinator General and the federal Environment Minister.