Maules Creek construction to start after court decision

WHITEHAVEN Coal will ramp up construction of its Maules Creek mine after the federal Environment Minister was found to have not erred in law in granting its approval early this year.
Maules Creek construction to start after court decision Maules Creek construction to start after court decision Maules Creek construction to start after court decision Maules Creek construction to start after court decision Maules Creek construction to start after court decision

 

Lou Caruana

Construction works at the site are expected to start in early January following an initial mobilisation period by Leighton Contractors.

An application filed with the Federal Court by the Northern Inland Council for the Environment (NICE) sought to challenge the validity of the Maules Creek project approval under the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).

On Friday, Justice Cowdroy dismissed NICE's legal challenge to the validity of the minister's approval for the project granted under the EPBC Act and not a merits based appeal against the project.

The Maules Creek coal mine project has been the subject of rigorous scrutiny from regulatory agencies and consent authorities and has already passed the highest contemporary environmental standards for coal mining projects in NSW and Australia, Whitehaven managing director and CEO Paul Flynn said.

“Whitehaven is getting on with the job of building Maules Creek, which will be one of the most significant pieces of economic infrastructure ever delivered in regional NSW, generating over 340 direct construction jobs and a further 470 permanent positions when the mine is operating.

“Our company has worked incredibly hard with the local community, our investors and others to bring this project to fruition and we are absolutely determined to maintain momentum and achieve first coal sales in the first quarter of CY2015.”

Whitehaven chairman Mark Vaile also welcomed Friday’s decision, saying: “The resolution of this outstanding legal challenge, our successful recent debt realignment, and gradually improving global coal prices should give Whitehaven investors real certainty and confidence about the company’s future.”

Friday’s outcome in the Federal Court follows a previous, unsuccessful attempt by NICE to restrict the commencement of construction works at Maules Creek by way of injunction.

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