Activists lose Alpha Mine fight, forced to pay court fees

A LEGAL challenge to the proposed Alpha coal mine has been dismissed and an environmental group ordered to pay the legal costs of the State Government and miner GVK Hancock.

The Queensland Court of Appeal on Tuesday dismissed environmental group Coast and Country's claim that the Queensland Land Court had made the wrong decision by not considering the carbon emissions that burning coal from Alpha would produce.

Coast and Country first challenged the Land Court's decision in the Supreme Court and then took it to the Court of Appeal.

Land Court member Paul Smith ruled stopping the mine would not lead to a reduction in carbon emissions as coal from other mines would still be burnt.

But Court of Appeal Justice Hugh Fraser said Coast and Country had failed to make out its grounds of appeal as the Land Court had made the right decision.

"The primary judge dismissed the application against the EPA Minister on the ground that the Land Court's recommendations were valid.  That decision should be affirmed on the same ground," he said.

Justice Fraser said Mr Smith "took into account his finding that the power stations would burn the same amount of coal and produce at least the same amount of … emissions whether or not the mine proceeded; if the mine proceeded it would not increase the amount of global greenhouse gases or any environmental impact resulting from those gases".

Speaking outside court GVK Hancock spokesman Josh Euler said the decision meant progress the mine could continue.

"The next step for us is to finalise our approvals and obtain our mining lease. At that point we can then finalise our financial arrangements and then commence construction," he said.

"We've done everything that's been asked of us and then some.

"This project will create thousands of jobs for Queensland. It will be a great shot in the arm for central Queensland who is current doing it tough at the moment with the economic downturn."


Alpha coal mine decision due from state's highest court

QUEENSLAND'S highest court is set to rule on a legal challenge to Gina Rinehart's proposed Alpha coal mine.

Environmental group Coast and Country has challenged the GVK Hancock proposed mine claiming emissions from the mine's coal being burnt would damage the Great Barrier Reef.

The Court of Appeal is set to deliver its judgment on the challenge on Tuesday.

The proposed mine would produce 30 million tonnes of coal per annum.


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