Palmer mine climate risk ‘unacceptable’


The planned Clive Palmer thermal coal mine in Queensland must be rejected because it “risks unacceptable climate change impacts”, a court has ruled.

Queensland’s Land Court on Friday ruled in favor of a case against Palmer’s Waratah Coal project in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland 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 because of its possible contribution to climate change and the destruction of a nearby nature reserve.

Court President Fleur Kingham has determined that the carbon emissions from burning coal extracted at the project “will contribute to environmental damage, including in Queensland”.

She has recommended that a mining contract and environmental authority for Waratah’s project be denied by the state government.

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“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 Friday. her statement. .

She said the uncertain market demand for thermal coal gave rise to the “real prospect” that the mine would not be viable over its planned life, or reap the economic benefits.

She found that the potential subsidence effects of the mine on the ecological values ​​of the nearby 8,000-acre Bimblebox Nature Preserve were 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.

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The mine would also unjustifiably restrict the human rights of Bimblebox owners, Queenslanders and First Nations peoples, the ruling said.

Bimblebox owners would be affected by their rights to property, privacy and home, while associated climate change would limit Queenslanders’ rights to life, property, privacy and home, the rights of children and the cultural rights of First Nations peoples.

“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.

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“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.”

The court also rejected Waratah’s argument that the higher quality thermal coal produced at the mine would displace lower quality coal projects.

“In the end, I have decided to recommend that both applications be denied,” President Kingham said.

The president of the court warned that her ruling was a recommendation to the minister and the ministry, who would make the final decisions on whether to approve the mining contract and the environmental authority.



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