Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073).
Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073). Patrick Hamilton

Green groups put red light on Rinehart's Alpha coal mine

GINA Rinehart's mining company GVK Hancock says thousands of Queensland jobs have been put on hold after an environmental group lodged legal action with the state's highest court.

Last month the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Alpha coal mine project and reinstated a previous Land Court decision which would allow the mine to go ahead, with conditions.

But environmental group Coast and Country, which the Environmental Defender's Office is representing, is taking this to the Court of Appeal, claiming Supreme Court Justice James Douglas made an error.

Court documents showed Coast and Country's legal argument is that Justice Douglas allowed the Land Court to not give any weight to how greenhouse gas emissions from the coal mine would cause environmental harm.

In his judgment, which was delivered on September 4, Justice Douglas found the Land Court had power to determine the mine would not increase greenhouse gas emissions because coal would be sourced from elsewhere, regardless of whether the Alpha coal mine went ahead.

Coast and Country was not available for comment on Thursday.

A GVK statement released on Thursday said this new legal challenge represented the fourth time "anti-mining activists" had lodged a legal challenge against the Alpha coal project.

"This new legal challenge completely misses the fact that exporting coal from the Galilee Basin will not in any way change global carbon emissions or global demand for thermal coal," GVK's statement said.

"If we as a nation don't develop the Galilee Basin, all that will happen is some other country will develop their equivalent resource and gain the significant benefits of billions of dollars in taxes and royalties and tens of thousands of jobs over many decades."

The matter will now be put before three justices in the Queensland Court of Appeal.

- APN NEWSDESK



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