Aboriginal activist Adrian Burragubba, who lost the support of his indigenous clan to fight Adani’s $16 billion Carmichael mine, is now single-handedly delaying the final approval for the project.
Just weeks after Mr Burragubba faced a revolt by fellow native title claimants of the Wangan and Jagalingou people over his federal court challenge, the Queensland government yesterday declared it was unable to issue mining leases or environmental authority until the case was finalised.
The appeal by Mr Burragubba, who has been financially backed by green groups, was this month described by the presiding Federal Court judge as “shambolic’’ and is being pursued while his own clan neg
otiates a land use agreement with Adani.
India’s energy giant, which is entering its sixth year in the approval process, was yesterday given the go-ahead by the federal government — with 29 strict conditions — for the planned expansion of the Abbot Point port to export up to 60,000 million tonnes of coal a year.
The approval follows last week’s decision in the Land Court of Queensland to dismiss green groups’ objection to the project.
The Land Court decision cleared the way for final state environmental authority to be given within 30 days, and for the Queensland government to issue the mining leases on the project, which has faced a co-ordinated strategy by various legal groups to frustrate Adani in legal fights and force it to abandon the mine.
A spokeswoman for the state Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham, last night said he could not issue the mining lease for Australia’s largest proposed coal mine until Mr Burragubba’s case was resolved.
The case, which has been adjourned for further hearing in February, challenges a decision of the National Native Title Tribunal to allow the granting of a mining lease on the claimed traditional land of the clan, who this month voted to support Adani.
Mr Burragubba, who yesterday did not returns calls, this month told he was willing to take his fight to the High Court.
Dr Lynham’s office said it was forced to wait for the case to be resolved.
“Native title issues must be resolved and an environmental authority issued before the minister can consider the grant of any mining lease,’’ the spokeswoman said.
Within hours of federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt approving the port expansion, with strict conditions, green groups began fund-raising for a new court challenge.
Mr Hunt said the approved dredging had been reduced by 97 per cent from the original dredging proposal. All dredge material would be placed onshore on existing industrial land.
“The port area is at least 20km from any coral reef and no coral reef will be impacted,’’ Mr Hunt said.
Adani welcomed the approval and said it had willingly supported the move to an onshore disposal of dredged material last year when a site not previously available became a viable option for proximate, well managed disposal of dredged material.
“This is the third time a wellmanaged, strictly regulated, science and evidence-based expansion approval has been the subject of a state and federal government approval process since 2010,’’ a company spokesman said.
Miner prepares for Abbot Point legal challengesADANI has received Federal Government approval for its $1 billion Abbot Point coal port expansion but is already preparing for legal challenges.
A week after winning a key legal challenge to its Carmichael coal mine in the Land Court, the approval granted by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt forAbbot Point was the final hurdle under the EPBC Act for the $US7.5 billion ($10.4 billion) first stage of the rail, port and mine project.
But activist group GetUp! has started a fundraising campaign to finance court action while a host of green groups voiced outrage over effects on the Great Barrier Reef.
The latest approval is also being challenged by the Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court.
The State Government has also put its own demands on the project saying no dredging would be allowed until Adani reached “financial closure” on the project. It also said dredging would not start until its wholly owned North Queensland Bulk Ports had money in the bank. But credit rating agency Moody’s has warned investors that Adani Ports, which holds the 99-year lease on Abbot Point, was facing financial questions, with existing customers hit by the mining downturn.
While Adani faces a tough battle to fund the project, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk ruled out any financial aid, saying it was a private company and must obtain finance independently.
“There will be no taxpayers’ money going towards this project,” she said.
She also said there would be jobs for regional Queensland and safeguards to protect the Reef, with the Federal Government approval containing 30 conditions.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said the approval by Mr Hunt found there would be no significant residual effects on the Reef.
“All dredge material will be placed onshore on existing industrial land. No dredge material will be placed in the World Heritage Area or the Caley Valley Wetlands,” the Federal Government said.
Adani welcomed the approval and said it was key to its plans to deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to Queensland, claims disputed by activists.
Deputy Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek accused Ms Palaszczuk of “walking both sides of the street” by welcoming the approval but ruling out government support. He urged her to resurrect LNP government plans to help shore up the mine, including ensuring vital infrastructure would be built.
Greenpeace said dredging 61ha of marine habitat was irresponsible enough, “but doing it for a dirty big coal mine that would only worsen greenhouse pollution that is already endangering the Reef is simply negligent”.
The Australian newspaper has run another one of its distorted stories today - but they are right about this... Adrian Burragubba is standing in the Federal court fighting to stop Adani's Carmichael mine. And it is good that they report Minister Lynham saying he cannot issue the mining lease 'for Australia’s largest proposed coal mine until Mr Burragubba’s case was resolved'. But as usual, The Australian is wilfully ignorant of the facts - Adrian Burragubba hasn't lost the support of his clan; no, there isn't a revolt of the native title claimants, just a handful of pro-Adani insiders; no, there is no decision by Wangan and Jagalingou claimants to overturn their opposition to Adani's mine; and no, green groups are not funding Adrian's legal challenge - and it is not 'shambolic', it is ground breaking.