The approval of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland is facing problems and has been declared invalid by the Federal Court stating that the environment minister had not properly considered advice regarding two vulnerable species.
By NewsGram Staff Writer
The $16 billion coal mine and 189 km rail link, which was approved by the Federal Government in July 2014, is being reconsidered by the court after it came to light that Environment Minister Greg Hunt had not properly consulted with experts about the yakka skink and the ornamental snake, both the species close to extinction.
The court’s order was challenged by the Mackay Conservation Group, an environmental organisation in the Mackay region in Queensland, Australia, in January arguing that the impacts of the project on the climate and threatened species had not been properly addressed.
The court ruling has been consented to by Indian company Adani and the Federal Government.
The court statement says, “This is a technical, administrative matter and to remove this doubt, the department has advised that the decision should be reconsidered.”
“Without pre-empting a final decision about the project, the department expects that it will take six to eight weeks to prepare its advice and the supporting documentation, and for the Minister to reconsider his final decision.”
Environmental Defenders Office principal solicitor Sue Higginson, who represents the Mackay Conservation Group, said: “What can happen from here is the Minister can re-make his decision, and of course in remaking that decision he can approve the mine again following the proper legal procedures, or he can refuse the mine; that is the legal power open to the Minister.”
If approved, the proposed Carmichael mine would have been Australia’s largest coal mine exporting up to 60 million tonnes of coal from across the Great Barrier Reef Coast every year.
Adani said that the company will ensure that the mine, rail and port projects in Queensland will be developed keeping in mind the environmental conditions.
Adani said that the approval did include appropriate conditions to manage the species protection of the yakka skink and ornamental snake “but we have been advised that, because certain documents were not presented by the Department in finalising the approval, it created a technical legal vulnerability that is better to address now.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said that “legal loopholes” provided the necessary grounds for anti-coal activists to delay billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs.
State Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said, “There’s been a judicial review and I believe it’s a technical error, but we’re asking the Federal Government, and the Federal Environment Minister to sort this out as quickly as possible.”