The planned Clive Palmer thermal coal mine in Queensland must be rejected because it “risks unacceptable impacts from climate change” on the environment and human rights, a court has determined.
The Land Court of Queensland has upheld an appeal against the Galilee project of Waratah Coal, owned by Palmer, west of Rockhampton after a three-year court case.
The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of Youth Verdict and The Bimblebox Alliance, opposed the mine on human rights grounds, arguing it would exacerbate climate change and destroy a nearby nature reserve.
Court President Fleur Kingham found that while the mine was intended for export, “wherever the coal is burned, the emissions will contribute to environmental damage, including in Queensland.”
She recommended that the government reject a mining contract and an environmental authority for Waratah’s project.
Unacceptable consequences of climate change
“In the end, I have concluded that the climate scenario consistent with a viable mine will have unacceptable impacts of climate change on the people and property of Queensland, even taking into account the economic and social benefits of the project,” President Kingham said in her statement on Friday. pronunciation.
The mine’s contribution to climate change would also limit Queenslanders’ human rights, including the rights to life, property, privacy and home, the rights of children and the cultural rights of First Nations peoples, she felt.
“I have done my best to assess the nature and extent of the limit resulting from the project, and have concluded that the limit is not demonstrably justified,” President Kingham said.
“For each right, considered individually, I have determined that the importance of preserving the right, given the nature and extent of the restriction, outweighs the economic benefits of the mine and the benefit of contributing to energy security for Southeastern Asia. Asia.”
Potential impact of mine subsidence uncertain
The court ruled that the potential impact of subsidence from mining under the nearby 8,000-acre Bimblebox Nature Preserve was also uncertain and potentially serious.
“The evidence suggests that it is likely that the sanctuary will be lost and that Bimblebox’s ecological values will be severely and possibly irreversibly damaged,” said President Kingham.
The president of the court said her ruling was a recommendation to the minister and ministry, who would make final decisions on Waratah’s mining contract and environmental authority.
“The Queensland Government will carefully consider the recommendations,” a government spokesman told AAP on Friday afternoon.
Youth Verdict Coordinator Murrawah Johnson said she was overjoyed that a “Western courtroom” had recognized the cultural rights of First Nations peoples.
“Now the government must accept the court’s recommendation and reject Palmer’s Galilee Coal Project approvals,” she said in a statement.
Billionaire Palmer ‘wants to line his pockets’
“Billionaire Clive Palmer wants to line his pockets by building a new coal mine at a time when we need to move away from extractive industries that are devastating the country and fueling climate change.
“First Nations peoples will not stand by as coal-driven climate change destroys our lands and further threatens our connections to culture.”
EDO attorney Sean Ryan also called on the state government to follow the court’s advice and swiftly reject Waratah’s proposed mine.
“Our customers have successfully hit the core of the main cause of accelerating climate impacts on their land and sea land, which is coal.
“This win keeps billions of tons of carbon safely stored in the ground where it belongs.”