Indian mining giant Adani Group’s 16.5 billion dollar controversy-hit coal mine project in Australia has cleared another hurdle with Brisbane Supreme Court dismissing an appeal filed by indigenous group against the project. Carmichael coal mine project, one of the world’s largest, will start construction this year after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments. The project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the iconic Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed off on land. Despite being targeted by several political and environmental groups from time to time, the Adani group has reaffirmed its commitment for the project and promised to create economic prosperity, including creating thousands of jobs for the people in Queensland. In May this year, the lawyers of Wangan and Jagalingou group, who have a native title claim over the proposed site of the mine in the Galilee basin, argued in the court that the issuing of the mining leases to Adani were unlawful as they had not been given adequate opportunity to address the state government on native title issues relating to the proposed Carmichael site.
However, Adani and the state government argued that the traditional owners had never made a proper objection to the mine under the terms set out by the Mineral Resources Act 1989. Responding to today’s decision, senior spokesperson for the W&J Traditional Owners Council, Adrian Burragubba, said “where there is mining there is no justice for Traditional Owners. We are not done yet. We will exhaust all legal avenues in our fight to for our rights and to protect our country”. “Adani cannot move on the critical infrastructure for the mine until they can get us out of the way,” he said. Meanwhile, the Adani group welcomed the court’s decision and said, “it represents yet another independent judicial decision upholding nearly eight years of development planning and rigorous approvals, and dismisses activist claims to the contrary”. It is also another legal rebuff to activists’ use of the courts to seek to delay a project, the company said claiming that the project will inject 22 billion dollars in royalties and charges into the State coffers to be reinvested back into the community. The company is expected to kick off the pre-construction work in September quarter of this year following Adani chairman Gautam Adani announcing the signing off on the project.