Federal approval for a major coal project in the Galilee Basin comes as a major windfall for Queensland's mining industry.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, situated north-west of Clermont in the Galilee Basin, marks a major step forward for the $16.5 billion development, and arrives just two months after approval was granted by Queensland’s independent Coordinator General.

The state government has hailed the decision as providing a critical boost to the Queensland economy as well as regional employment prospects.

“More jobs now are now being created in Queensland than in any other state, giving workers and their families a secure and bright future,” said Jeff Seeney, Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. “Our strong plan is putting Queensland back on track to becoming the nation’s leading economy once again.”

Jeff Seeney, Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development

Jeff Seeney, Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development

According to Seeney, the Carmichael project could eventually become the largest coal mine in the country, as well as one of the biggest in the world, and will lay the foundations for further exploitation of the immense resources potential of the Galilee Basin.

The project is expected to create as many as 2,500 construction jobs and 3,900 operational jobs, as well as generate over $500 million annually in both direct and indirect benefits for the Queensland economy during the development phase, and nearly $3 billion when operating at full export capacity.

The proponents of the mine, the Adani Group, envisage the use of a combination of open-cut and underground mining to produce as many as 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum for export abroad.

Seeney said that the the stringent requirements attending the approval, which include 36 Commonwealth and 190 state government environmental conditions, will mean that the construction and operation of the project will not significantly affect water supplies in the Great Artesian Basin or the biodiversity of the local environment.

“Should the mine proceed, Queenslanders can be assured its impact on the environment will be minimised,” said Seeney.