GVK Hancock say they'll build
GALILEE court win means GVK will now invest further in mega project.
Wednesday 28 September 2016
GVK Hancock says it’ll focus on getting a mining lease for its Alpha Coal project in the Southern Galilee Basin following its win in the Court of Appeal yesterday.
In a landmark victory for GVK, the court dismissed an attempt by Green group Coast and Country to challenge the state government’s environmental approval of the proposed mine and ordered them to pay all legal costs amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Coast and Country tried to argue that the State Government had failed to consider the effects on global climate from end users burning coal sourced from the mine when it gave GVK Hancock environmental authority, which the court categorically dismissed.
Ironically, the case against the State Government was also funded by them - or more accurately taxpayers - via the State Government's current funding of the Environmental Defender’s Office who bankrolled the case through three different courts.
GVK Hancock released a statement welcoming the court's ruling.
“This now brings an end to four years of legal challenges from anti-mining protesters and allows us to continue developing a project that will create thousands of jobs for our state,” spokesperson Josh Euler said.
“To date, we have invested tens of millions of dollars on a broad range of environmental assessments that contributed to our environmental approvals, and we have complied with every environmental regulation set before us, as well as meeting the legal requirements of numerous court challenges.
“The next steps for our project involve finalising remaining approvals to attain our mining lease, which will take our project another step closer to a point where construction can commence.”
Environmental Defenders Office chief executive Jo-Anne Bragg said the group could consider an appeal to the High Court given it was a "very important public interest case".
GVK is an Indian company, which has a 79 percent stake in the Alpha Coal and Alpha West projects, and a 100 percent stake in the Kevin’s Corner project in the Galilee which it purchased from Hancock Prospecting at the height of the mining boom.
These projects have total resources of 8 billion tonnes and a theoretical peak capacity of 80 million tonnes a year, which would make them the largest coal mining operation in the world.
The Alpha Coal project has a mine life of over 30 years and a capacity of 32 mtpa. The construction workforce for all three projects is estimated to be around 4000 if they ever get off the ground.