Australia’s federal court has overturned its government’s approval for the construction of one of the biggest coal mines in the world, in a decision that comes as a huge blow to Indian conglomerate Adani Mining.
Environmentalists say the Carmichael project, expected to cost up to 16 billion dollars, threatens two vulnerable species and will endanger the Great Barrier Reef.
However, Adani Group said it was confident that the move to set aside the earlier decision was due to a technical error made by Australia’s department of environment. The group described the error as ‘regrettable’ and said the environment minister would now have to reconsider the decision.
“Adani is confident the conditions imposed on the existing approval are robust and appropriate once the technicality is addressed,” the company said in a statement.
The Carmichael coal mine and rail project has seen a lot of fighting recently between environmentalists and and the fossil fuel industry. A legal challenge had been made before the federal court by the Mackay Conservation Group on environmental grounds.
Conservationists have warned of damage to the Great Barrier Reef, a world-heritage site. The court said that when Australia’s environment minister Greg Hunt gave necessary approvals in May 2014, he didn’t consider advice about two threatened species — the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.
A new decision by the environment minister on whether to approve the mine is expected to take six to eight weeks.