Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis
Developers have lost a court appeal to build a coal mine in Australia’s Hunter Valley over its potentially “dire” environmental impact in the country’s first legal review of a coal mine project to hear evidence from a climate scientist.
In the landmark ruling, Justice Brian Preston on Friday denied the appeal on the Rocky Hill project in New South Wales state, citing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as uncertain economic benefits and adverse social and visual impacts.
The Rocky Hill project was developed by privately held Gloucester Resources, a unit of GRL Holdings Pty Ltd, which has the right to appeal to the New South Wales supreme court. “Gloucester Resources Limited will assess the implications of today’s decision and consider its next steps,” it said in a statement.
In his ruling, the judge found that mine and associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would add to the global total “at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.”
“In short, an open cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Preston found. “These dire consequences should be avoided.”
The ruling was set to make developing new coal mines or expanding existing projects more challenging, said Shaw & Partners analyst Peter O’Connor. “On first pass it doesn’t read well for the industry,” he said. “And it does indicate an ongoing and increased level of scrutiny of this industry, which is only likely to become greater.”