Clive Palmer’s Waratah coal mine denied environmental licence

Mining billionaire Clive Palmer.

Mining billionaire Clive Palmer. Photo: AAP

A major coal mine that was the subject of a landmark court battle fought on climate change and human rights grounds has been denied an environmental licence.

The Clive Palmer-backed Waratah mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin had its environmental authority application rejected on Monday.

The decision by the Queensland Department of Environment follows a Land Court recommendation in November to refuse both the environmental authority and mining lease applications

The thermal coal project should be rejected because it “risks unacceptable climate change impacts” on the environment and on human rights, the court ruled.

Land Court President Fleur Kingham found that even though the mine was intended for exports, “wherever the coal is burnt the emissions will contribute to environmental harm, including in Queensland”.

The hearing took place over seven weeks beginning in April last year, and included evidence taken on-country in the Torres Strait and Cairns.

It was the first time a Queensland court has advised a coal mine should be refused due to its contribution to climate change, and the first time an Australian court has linked climate change to human rights.

There are no review or appeal rights under Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act for the department’s decision, however a judicial review can be applied for via the Supreme Court.

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