The Australia’s federal court has rejected an environmental approval given for Indian mining firm Adani’s $12.5bn Carmichael coal mine planned for central Queensland.
Following the approval, Mackay Conservation Group filed a lawsuit against the mine in January this year alleging that climate and threatened species had not been properly addressed.
Environmental legal centre EDO NSW, which represents the Mackay Conservation Group, said that the mine would be responsible for substantial greenhouse gas emissions.
EDO NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said: "The decision of the court to set aside the Carmichael mine’s federal approval was based on a failure by the minister to have regard to conservation advices for two federally listed vulnerable species, the yakka skink and ornamental snake.
"The conservation advices were approved by the minister in April last year, and describe the threats to the survival of these threatened species, which are found only in Queensland."
In July 2014, Australia Prime Minister Tony Abott approved construction of the project.
According to environmental groups, the project was approved without considering the mine’s impact on the two vulnerable species that are found only in Queensland.
The court case alleged that Abott did not take into consideration the global greenhouse emissions from the burning of the coal at the mine.
The court said on Tuesday that the environment minister had failed to heed advice about threats to vulnerable species.
Adani cannot legally operate the mine until it receives a new approval as per the court’s decision.
According to the Mackay Conservation Group, the Carmichael mine would have been exporting up to 60 million tonnes of coal from across the Great Barrier Reef Coast every year if built.
The environmental group said in a statement: "This is a historic win for the climate, fragile ecosystems in western Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef."
Adani recently suspended work in a number of areas on the mine, and said that it was ‘a technical legal error’.
The company said in a statement: "Adani is confident the conditions imposed on the existing approval are robust and appropriate once the technicality is addressed."
Image: Satelite image of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: courtesy of Nasa.