Emerald wins the Alpha Coal nod

THE Federal Government's approval of GVK Hancock's $6.3 billion coal mine in the Galilee Basin near Alpha is a major stepping stone at the end of a four-year process, but what does it mean for our local communities?

In an interview with CQ News yesterday, GVK Hancock group managing director Paul Mulder revealed Emerald is likely to be the service hub to Australia's largest coal mine, which is due to be under construction within a year,

Locals in Alpha and Jericho say all they want are better services.

"There are support industries based in Emerald and there could be opportunities for them to either expand or set up branches in places like Alpha," Mr Mulder said.

Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler revealed yesterday one Galilee proponent, whose identity he would not divulge, had pledged to fund a fulltime paramedic in Alpha for five years, as well as buying the town a new ambulance.

"The health services in Alpha and Jericho are not acceptable. These people deserve a fully-fledged paramedic at the very least," Cr Chandler said.

Alpha resident of 17 years and local business owner Judy Acutt said health services were on top of the list for locals.

Mr Mulder said GVK Hancock was working with the BRC and local community groups, particularly through the Hancock Consultative Committee, to address these key issues in Alpha.

"We have said all along we are the true pioneers of opening up the Galilee Basin and nothing has changed," he said.

"As we lead the way in the region, infrastructure development and ancillary industry will follow and this will make it even more attractive for other miners to follow suit."

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