The Alpha Coalmine Case, Queensland

The Alpha Coalmine Case, Queensland

Farmers and the Coast and Country Association of Queensland Inc (CCAQ), represented by the EDO QLD, launched a legal action against the approval of the Alpha coal mine project, 79 per cent owned by Indian group GVK and 21 percent by Gina Rinehart’s company Hancock Prospecting.

The association argued in court the proposed mine, 360km south-west of Mackay in the Galilee Basin, would contribute to climate change and have permanent and irreversible effects on ground water. The mine is expected to drawdown groundwater levels by up to 5 metres within a 10-kilometre radius of the mine over its 30-year life span. It will also require the clearing of 22,500 hectares of vegetation.

On 8 April 2014 the Land Court delivered its judgment, recommending that the Queensland Government reject the Alpha Coal project or impose new stricter groundwater conditions. The Court was unable to say on the evidence just how far interference with groundwater would extend, so took a precautionary approach to protect landholders.