The Queensland government gave the green light to Cockatoo Coal to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for its North Surat-Taroom coal project, which is estimated to be worth $1.12bn.

The government has received 22 submissions on the draft terms of reference (TOR) for the EIS.

Cockatoo Coal, in partnership with MCH Surat Basin Investment, Japan’s Mitsui affiliate, proposes to establish the North Surat-Taroom coal project, south of Taroom in the southwest part of the state.

The planned 5,800ha Taroom coal mine has the potential to export eight million tons of thermal coal a year for up to 20 years.

Queensland Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Jeff Seeney said this project has the potential to create up to 1,000 construction and 550 operation jobs, with further regional jobs from flow-on economic development.

"I welcome the Queensland Coordinator-General’s approval of the final terms of reference for the EIS for the proposed coal project, which means we are one step closer to knowing if the project is fit to be approved," Seeney added.

The EIS would consider the project’s impact on water, ground, threatened species, communities and housing availability as well as cumulative effects in the Surat Basin and Fitzroy Basin regions.

The community would have the opportunity to comment on the EIS when it will be released in 2013-14.

In addition to mining infrastructure, Cockatoo Coal is seeking approval for a creek diversion, a railway to the proposed Surat Basin Railway and diversion of 9km of the Leichhardt Highway.