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Issue #1689      June 17, 2015

Legal battle over mine

Representatives from the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people have issued a Federal Court challenge aimed at stopping Adani’s $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

The National Native Title Tribunal ruled in April that the mining leases could be granted and that there was no evidence the mine would impact on the W&J’s way of life.

But Adrian Burragubba, speaking on behalf of the W&J Family Council, announced a two-pronged approach to stopping the mine. “First, we announce that we have filed an appeal and judicial review in the Federal Court of Australia,” he said.

“This court action challenges the decision of the National Native Title Tribunal that the Queensland government may issue mining leases for Carmichael.

“This challenge is unprecedented in the history of Native Title Tribunal decisions. If necessary, we will take our case all the way to the High Court.”

Mr Burragubba told the Koori Mail the legal action was about who had the right to make decisions over the land. Adani has been negotiating with other people connected with the Wangan and Jagalingou native title claim.

“This is not about land use agreements, it’s about our animals, trees, plants, water and totems,” Mr Burragubba said. “We are fighting to protect our lore ... There has been no free and informed consent from our people.

“On the Wangan and Jagalingou native title, there are two names but one claim. Nobody can say I can’t speak on that country.”

Mr Burragubba said the W&J Family Council represents nine of the 12 family groups that have a native title claim over the area of the proposed mine.

“That’s where I take my instruction from. They have never consented to having this mine,” he said.

The second part of the campaign to stop the mine – which would be one of the biggest coal mines in the world if it goes ahead – is a world tour to meet with investment banks in the US, Europe and Asia and First Nations groups in North America.

“This disastrous mine needs billions of dollars of finance if it is to ever go ahead,” Mr Burragubba said. “We will communicate to the banks that we do not consent to Carmichael, and the reasons we cannot allow this mine to go ahead.

“We will remind them that any bank that funds Carmichael will be breaching important human rights principles to which they are signatory; principles requiring that projects that affect Indigenous owners have their consent. We’ll urge them to honour their obligations and commit to ruling out funding.”

Economic analysts have said the mine would only be viable if coal was at $100 a tonne. Currently it is bringing about $60 a tonne and showing no sign of rising.

Koori Mail

Next article – Germany: many strikes and a big scandal

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