Clive Palmer’s planned thermal coal mine in Queensland should be rejected because it “risks unacceptable climate change impacts”, a court has found.
The Land Court of Queensland on Friday found in favour of a case against the Palmer-owned Waratah Coal project in central Queensland’s Galilee Basin after a three-year court battle.
The Environmental Defenders Office, on behalf of Youth Verdict and The Bimblebox Alliance, opposed the mine on human rights grounds due to its potential contribution to climate change and destruction of a nearby nature reserve.
Court President Fleur Kingham has found that carbon emissions from burning coal mined at the project “will contribute to environmental harm, including in Queensland”.
She has recommended that a mining lease and environmental authority for Waratah’s project be refused by the state government.
“In the end, I have decided that the climate scenario consistent with a viable mine risks unacceptable climate change impacts to Queensland people and property, even taking into account the economic and social benefits of the project,” President Kingham said in her ruling on Friday.
She said the uncertain market demand for thermal coal raised the “real prospect” the mine would not be viable throughout its planned life, or provide the economic benefits.
She found the potential subsidence impacts of the mine on the ecological values of the nearby 8000-hectare Bimblebox Nature Reserve were uncertain, and potentially severe.
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