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Federal court overturns Adani’s Carmichael coal project

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World Coal,

The Abbott government’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael mine in north Queensland – the largest proposed coal project in Australia – has been ruled invalid by the federal court.

The opencast and underground coal mine worth AUS$16 billion and a 189 km rail link were approved by the government in July 2014. However it has been overturned as a result of two vulnerable species: the yakka skink and ornamental snake. It was found Environment Minister Greg Hunt had not properly considered advice about the two species.

In a statement, the Federal Department of the Environment said the ruling was taken at the request of "all of the parties to the court proceedings".It said the whole approval process would not have to be reconsidered.

"This is a technical, administrative matter and to remove this doubt, the department has advised that the decision should be reconsidered," the statement said. "Without pre-empting a final decision about the project, the department expects that it will take six to eight weeks to prepare its advice and the supporting documentation, and for the Minister to reconsider his final decision."

Adani is now unable to begin construction work until a new approval is granted.

Sue Higgins, the Principal Solicitor at the Environmental Defenders Office NSW, which ran the case for the conservation group, is proposing the mine be reconsidered. She said: What can happen from here is the Minister can re-make his decision and, of course in re-making that decision, he can approve the mine again following the proper legal procedures, or he can refuse the mine; that is the legal power open to the Minister."

Queensland Resources Council CEO, Michael Roche, reportedly said: "legal loopholes" had paved the way for anti-coal activists to delay billions of dollars in investment and thousands of jobs. "It is preposterous that a technical administrative hitch could hold up billions of dollars in investment and thousands of desperately needed jobs.”

Adani has indicated it is committed to developing its mine, rail and port projects in Queensland in accordance with environmental conditions and is now waiting for the Minister’s reconsideration of its approval application.

Edited from various sources:The Guardian, ABC, The BBC by Harleigh Hobbs

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