GVK group wins court fight over Aus coal mine

GVK group wins court fight over Aus coal mineMELBOURNE: India’s GVK group and Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart today won a court battle against a conservation group which had sought cancellation of environmental approval of their 10 billion dollars joint coal mine project in the Galilee Basin in Queensland province.

The Alpha mine, rail and port project, which is expected to produce 30 million tonnes of coal per year and create up to 3,600 construction jobs and 990 operational jobs, was challenged by Conservation group Coast and Country.

The group, originally working for three farmers, had claimed that the project would adversely affect the groundwater and biodiversity in the region.

“The essential issue seemed to me to be that this was in effect premature to bring an application at this stage in respect of what were, after all, only recommendations made by the Land Court where there was no obligation of the ministers to follow those recommendations,” Queensland’s Supreme Court Judge James Douglas said, dismissing the applications today.

Josh Euler from GVK Hancock welcomed the decision and said they have achieved every environmental regulation asked of the project.

“It’s a great day for Queensland and we can now take the next steps in terms of moving forward with our project and creating thousands of jobs for Queensland,” he was quoted as saying by the ABC news.

According to statement issued by one of the three farmers involved in legal action against the mine development, Bruce Currie, said: “Today’s Supreme Court ruling that the Alpha mine may proceed is a blow, but won’t stop Queensland graziers standing firm against Gina Rineharts’s GVK Hancock Alpha coal mine.”

Currie said, “Justice has not been done. If this mine goes ahead, it risks draining away the groundwater that our lives and businesses depend on. This is our lifeblood. We cannot sit back and allow permanent damage to groundwater supplies and the Great Artesian Basin.”

“We’ve been trying for almost three years to have an honest conversation about the billions of litres of water GVK Hancock wants to take from our country, but from the start, all they’ve given us is the run-around,” Currie said.

“We’ve had a gutful of governments and big coal fast-tracking these massive mines without proper process, and trampling on us and farming families along the way. This our life.

“We are producing high quality food off this land we love. We are grateful that we have a legal system in Australia that protects the country we hold dear, but today I feel like we’ve been failed,” he said.

“It’s now down to the government now to stop this mine. If they’re interested in the future of this country, they should protect a viable farming sector, not unviable foreign miners,” he added. -PTI

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