Past Court Cases · Energy & Climate

Kevin's Corner coal mine Land Court challenge

04 July, 2017

Case Summary: EDO Qld represented Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc (CCAQ) in their objection to the approval of the Mining Lease (ML) and Environmental Authority (EA) for the Kevin's Corner coal mine, situated in the Galilee Basin in the catchment of the Burdekin River (which flows into wetlands and the Reef). Objections centred upon impacts to groundwater, economics and the public interest. 

Hancock Galilee Pty Ltd v Currie & Ors [2017] QLC 3

The hearing took place in the Land Court of Queensland between 19 to 30 October 2015. On the 4 July 2017 the Land Court delivered its recommendation that the ML be granted and the EA issued. Read the full decision.

Background

Adjacent to the Alpha coal mine, the Kevin’s Corner mine involved an open-cut and underground coal mine. The proposed mine is situated in the Galilee Basin in the catchment of the Burdekin River which flows into wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef.

The project involved estimated thermal coal resources of 4.269 billion tonnes, affecting 37,380 hectares of land, of which 632 hectares is high ecological value habitat which may be impacted by subsidence. The mine would run for 40 years with an annual extraction rate of approximately 45 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal – another mega mine proposal that would be one of the largest coal mining projects in Australia.

The objections of CCAQ against the recommendation to approve the mine were centred upon the issues of impacts to groundwater, economics and the public interest. CCAQ maintains that the application is not supported by sufficient, adequate or accurate information to conclude that the mining project will not have an unacceptable adverse environmental impact upon the quality and quantity of groundwater. 

As to economics, CCAQ maintained that the economic impacts of the mining project had not been adequately assessed and that the project will in fact have potentially severe adverse economic impacts on local, regional, State and global economies by creating downward pressure on employment in other industries by directly competing for labour.  

In the public interest, CCAQ argued that the impacts to groundwater and economics collectively outweigh the purported benefits of the mining project and justify refusal on the basis that it would prejudice the public right and interest.

There were eight objectors to the ML and ten objectors to the EA, comprising both affected landholders and concerned conservation groups. 

Objections were referred to the Land Court Of Queensland on 9 December 2013 and the first directions hearing was held in Brisbane on 20 December 2013. 

A number of further directions hearings have been held and various orders made by the Court, including consent orders to push back the court timetable that were made in November 2014, at the request of the applicant mining proponent.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.