Indian mining giant Adani Group’s 16.5 billion dollar controversy-hit coal mine project in Australia cleared two more legal hurdles today with a Brisbane court dismissing appeals filed by environmentalists and a traditional landowner against the venture.
A full bench of the Federal Court in Brisbane dismissed challenges from Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and native title objections from a central Queensland man named Adrian Burragubba.
The Court dismissed an appeal by ACF against an earlier federal court ruling that upheld the Federal Environment Minister granting an approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Act and Burragubba’s appeal for a judicial review of Native Title Tribunal’s decision to allow the mine to proceed.
Adani, in a statement, said that today’s court rulings have reinforced its legal right to develop its Carmichael thermal coal resource. “The decisions today are the second and third judicial decisions this week dismissing claims brought by a combination of the dissenting minority of the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) People and activist groups,” the company said. “These appeals simply tried to delay a project that will create 10,000 direct and indirect jobs,” Adani Australia CEO and Head of Country Jeyakumar Janakaraj said.
The project will also inject 22 billion dollars in royalties and charges into the state coffers to be reinvested back into the broader community, Janakraj said.
Burragubba was also involved in an action dismissed earlier this week by the Queensland Court of Appeal relating to the granting of a mining lease covering the Carmichael resource. “Burragubba suggests he is acting on behalf of the W&J community, but the W &J people voted by 294-1 to support an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani,” the company said.
The Federal Court today ruled it was “not possible to draw robust conclusions” about the extent to which coal from Carmichael would increase global temperatures, according to media reports. “It is therefore difficult to identify a relationship between (Carmichael) and any impacts on relevant matters of national environmental significance which may occur as the result of any increase in global temperature,” the court said.
In a span of 10 minutes, the court also dismissed Burragubba’s claim that Adani acted in a way “analogous to fraud” in order for the mine to be approved. “The expression, ‘conduct analogous to fraud’, has no precise meaning,” the court ruled and added “(Burragubba) seems to assume that Adani should necessarily have abandoned the (environmental impact statement) in face of...criticisms.”
In response, senior spokesperson for W&J Traditional Owners Council Burragubba, said, “We have fought and will continue to fight for our right to say no to the destruction of our country through mining and to have our rights properly recognised and respected by the state government.”
ACF spokesman Paul Sinclair was quoted by ABC News as saying that they would continue their fight to stop the mine.