A judiciary body recommended multiple new fossil fuel operations.
The Federal Court of Australia recently endorsed Mach Energy’s $950 million Mount Pleasant Optimisation Project and Whitehaven’s Narrabri Stage 3 Coal Extension.
The decision means MACH can deepen part of the open-cut mining area by 85 metres and double extraction rates to 21 million tonnes (Mt) per annum. The existing Northern Link Road will be realigned and Western Link Road removed.
Works are promised to help extract a total of a further 247Mt of run-of-mine coal, bringing a total of 444 Mt throughout the mine’s lifespan. If approved coal production will continue until at least December 2048. Up to 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs will be created during peak construction plus as many as 830 FTE positions during peak production.
Whitehaven’s plan is to keep mining at Narrabri until at least 2044, and retaining 500 skilled workers for an extra decade.
Justice Shaun McElwaine rejected environmental activist claims that Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek must consider climate change, an environmental theory that burning fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that can influence long-term weather patterns.
“Ultimately the applicant’s arguments … raise matters for parliament to consider whether the minister’s powers must be exercised to explicitly consider the anthropogenic effects,” he said according to the Australian Associated Press.
“The possible increase in net global greenhouse gas emissions and total average temperature resulting from the proposed action was ‘very small’ and on that basis the proposed action would not be a substantial cause of the identified physical effects of climate change,” he added according to News Limited.
Environment Council of Central Queensland president Christine Carlisle was still considering whether to appeal the court’s decision at the time of publication.