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Court dismisses objection to Whitehaven’s Narrabri expansion

16th May 2024

By: Mariaan Webb

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

     

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A full bench of the federal court has dismissed an objection raised by community organisation Environment Council of Central Queensland (ECCQ) against Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Stage 3 extension project.

The dismissal of ECCQ’s application places the ball in the court of Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek, who is tasked with making a final determination regarding the extension of the operational life of Narrabri, in New South Wales, until 2044.

Whitehaven has welcomed the judgment, emphasising that a positive decision from Plibersek would support about 500 continuing jobs in regional New South Wales.

However, ECCQ has expressed disappointment, articulating concerns through its social media channels. The organisation fears that the judgment may signal a broader trend of approvals

“We are afraid this decision will open the floodgates for the Minister to approve dozens of new coal and gas projects. Instead of standing up to fossil fuel companies, our Environment Minister stood with them in court, defending her refusal to act on the climate harm of new coal and gas mines.

“We are in a climate crisis, and every new coal and gas project is pouring more fuel on the fire,” said the organisation.

ECCQ said it remained resolute in its mission and vowed to explore its legal avenues to challenge the decision.

Currently, Narrabri is approved to produce 11-million tonnes a year of thermal coal until 2031. The Stage 3 extension project seeks to expand operations to the south of the existing site, prolonging the mine’s lifespan through to 2044.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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