Another two challenges to Adani’s proposed $21 billion Carmichael coal mine and an associated rail line have been dismissed in Queensland, amid warnings that further legal action is in the works.
The Supreme Court in Brisbane today dismissed a legal challenge to the granting of a mining lease by activist Adrian Burragubba and a dispute over environmental approvals launched by green-group funded Coast and Country.
Adani welcomed the decisions — the latest in a long line of failed challenges to what will be Australia’s largest thermal coal mine, but which have delayed the project by seven years.
“The decisions were further positive steps towards starting work in the September quarter 2017 on the Carmichael mine in central western Queensland and associated projects — a near 400km rail line and port expansion at Abbot Point,” Adani said in a statement.
But Mr Burragubba, who has been fighting the project despite his indigenous group this year voting in support of the mine, said: “We remind the Queensland government that the matter doesn’t end here.
“The validity of the decision-making of the National Native Title Tribunal, prior to the Minister for Mining issuing the leases, is still the subject of an appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court to be heard in February, 2017.
“We will fight on the legal and political frontline for our rights and the protection of country against big miners, and governments that are in a frenzy to do their bidding. We will take our cause to the High Court if necessary.”
The legal challenges were criticised outside court by Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane, a former federal resources minister.
“The QRC has repeatedly called on both state and federal governments to fix the mechanisms that enable green activists to ‘disrupt and delay’ resource projects through this merry-go-round of litigation,” Mr Macfarlane said. “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must stand behind his promise to overhaul the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and the Palaszczuk government must continue with its reforms.
“The activists don’t ever expect to be successful with their layer upon layer of court cases and subsequent appeals.
“Their interest is only in further delaying projects from delivering real construction and production jobs. The activists’ tactics mean that the only jobs being created are for lawyers.”