‘We will oppose mine to the end’
AN INDIGENOUS group is prepared to take its fight to the High Court to stop an Indian coal giant from building a $16.5 billion mine on its traditional land.
Adani’s Carmichael mine, expected to export at least 50 million tonnes of coal each year, is slated for Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
But the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people have filed an appeal and judicial review to challenge the National Native Title Tribunal’s (NNTT) decision to allow the Queensland Government to issue mining leases for Carmichael.
There were tense scenes yesterday when the group arrived at Adani’s Brisbane offices to present a notice of listing. Security staff were initially reluctant to let the group in and then interrupted a traditional Welcome to Country ceremony in front of the building, arguing the group was just inside its boundary.
Eventually, W&J spokesman Adrian Burragubba was allowed to present the document to Adani and said he would serve the same papers to the State Government and the NNTT.
“(We’ll) stop this Adani mine from destroying our traditional homelands and destroying our Dreaming tracks,” Mr Burragubba said.
“The whole purpose of this whole court process is to put our statement of claim to the Federal Court and, if it’s not heard in the Federal Court ... we’ll take this to the highest court in the land if need be.”
Mr Burragubba will also embark on a three-week global tour to convince major investment banks not to back the project, and to visit other indigenous groups enduring similar challenges.
He said the trip would be funded by donations, while he would receive pro bono legal representation.
An Adani spokesman said the company was confident the NNTT action would be upheld, given that it was working with other “authorised” W&J representatives. The NNTT determined that Mr Burragubba’s group was “not relevant”, the spokesman said.
The mine and other Adani projects will deliver economic benefits to the W&J, while the spokesman said: “There are sound and effective cultural heritage management plans for the site”.