China First, a Clive Palmer-owned exploration and coal mine development company, gave formal notice that it intends to file a damages claim in the Queensland Supreme Court against QR National. The company alleges QR National, which is more than 34% owned by the Queensland Government, breached a confidentiality agreement with China First Pty Ltd.

China First’s proposed $8 billion coal mine and infrastructure project in the untapped Galilee Basin had also been granted significant project status by the Queensland Coordinator-General. “Our China First project will create 6,000 jobs during construction and will generate an estimated $4.6 billion per year in export revenues once operational,” China First’s spokeswoman Baljeet Singh said. “Now we have QR National in conjunction with the Queensland Government claiming it can build the rail link and create hundreds of jobs in what looks like a bid to score some political mileage in the government’s bid for re-election. This is an outrage as we had already been in commercial discussions and exchanges with QR National for cooperation in the joint development of rail and port facilities supporting the Galilee Basin.

“We have advised the Coordinator-General of the improper use for which the subject significant project declaration regarding QR National has been made and reserve our rights against him and the Queensland Government,” Singh said, “We intend to seek damages of $8 billion and will also seek injunctions against QR National and other relevant parties seeking to restrain them from dealing with QR National in respect of the Galilee Basin and its corridor and associated port facilities.”

The China First Coal Project includes a large scale thermal coal mine near Alpha, west of Emerald. The proposed mine will be linked to the new T4-T9 coal terminal at Abbot Point near Bowen by a new 471-km, heavy-haul railway line.