Adani Carmichael mine $40b projects held up by green group court action

Further projects valued at $40 billion relating to Adani’s Carmichael mine have been delayed due to court action from green groups affecting Adani and GVK Hancock.

The Queensland government has made a pitch to back investors as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her ministers addressed the 200 shareholders at the Northern Queensland Economic Summit at the Cairns Convention Centre.

Approval is currently being sought out from MacMines for a $5 billion China Stone coal mine in the Galilee, submitting its draft Environmental Impact Statement earlier this year.

According to MacMines CEO Russ Phillips, “You can see the effect that it has had with the Adani company. It’s basically shut its operations down through the approval phase.”

“The government has given no assurances but they are looking at how they can work with the coal companies to achieve a visible end point. How can a system be developed that gives the citizens of Queensland their appropriate rights and due process whilst also giving potential investors in Queensland a clear path to an end point?” Phillips said. 

Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine is facing a new legal obstacle with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) taking Federal environment minister Greg Hunt to court.

The ACF is seeking to challenge Hunt’s approval of the $16 billion mine which they believe is in violation of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The act states a minister’s primary role is to protect areas of national environmental significance, and must always consider decisions in the context of Australia’s social and economic needs.

The minister must also act in alignment with Australia’s responsibilities under the UN World Heritage Convention.

With the mine located in northwest Queensland’s Galilee Basin, the conservationists will argue in court that Hunt failed to consider its environmental and social impact on the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage listed site.

ACF president Geoff Cousins said the accelerated destruction of the reef through climate pollution from burning coal would create a massive loss for Australians and overseas visitors.

"The aim of the Australian Conservation Foundation…is to stop this mine," Cousins said.

“Minister Hunt has acknowledged climate change is affecting the Reef, yet the approval of the Carmichael mine will create more pollution, make global warming worse and irreversibly damage the Reef.”

The conservation group is represented by the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland. Principal solicitor Sean Ryan says the minister has “failed [to] have regard to his international obligations to do all he can not to act inconsistently with the Great Barrier Reef world heritage values”.

According to Ryan, the minister is required to consider the direct and indirect consequences of major developments.

"Our case is that the burning of coal overseas is an indirect consequence that the Minister must have regard to when considering the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef,” Ryan said.

Previously, the Mackay Conservation Group was able to halt the Adani proposal by arguing that the minister failed to take into consideration the consequences on the yakka skink and ornamental snake.

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