PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The $16.5-billion Carmichael coal and rail project is facing yet another legal battle after an indigenous group launched an appeal against the project’s approval.
The Wangan and Jagalingou people have lodged an appeal with the Federal Court, seeking a judicial review of a National Native Title Tribunal decision to issue mining leases for the project.
The Queensland state government recently gave its backing to India’s Adani to develop the Carmichael project with Minister for State Development and Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham approving the granting of three individual mining leases to Adani.
The proposed Carmichael project would comprise an opencut and underground mine, running for a period of 90 years and producing an average 60-million tonnes a year of thermal coal.
The three leases making up the project were estimated to contain 11-billion tonnes of thermal coal. Adani estimated the mine, rail and port project would generate more than 5 000 jobs at the peak of construction and more than 4 500 jobs at the peak of operations.
The project has been the subject of a number of legal battles and went through a number of rounds of development approvals, with the project ultimately being backed by the state Parliament, which agreed a motion that all state government approvals be provided to help create jobs in North and Central Queensland.
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on Wednesday called on the state government to overhaul the approvals process in Queensland to prevent further delays to resource projects.
“The announcement today of another appeal lodged by an indigenous group adds yet another delay to the vital job-generating project that regional Queenslanders are relying on after the massive downturn in the resources sector,” said QRC acting CEO Greg Lane.
“Even Minister Lynham has said, ‘everyone deserves their day in court, but not four years in court’, and even he conceded after the Adani decision that the project was likely to face further legal hurdles.”
Lane noted that anti-coal groups were already calling for donations to fund an appeal well before they had calculated on what legal grounds they could do so.
“It comes as no surprise to us that within a week an appeal is being lodged.
“The QRC once again calls on the Queensland government to urgently overhaul the approvals system so that resource projects are not subject to onerous delays that are holding up job-creating projects for Queensland.”