Court case keeps mine on hold
The coal industry is up against more grassroots opposition, with Gina Rinehart's coal mine in central Queensland facing a court challenge on Monday.
Just months after a community group in NSW halted expansion of a Rio Tinto coal mine, a community group called Coast and Country Association of Queensland, will launch a challenge in Brisbane Magistrates Court against Ms Rinehart's Alpha coal mine.
Coast and Country spokesman Derec Davies said the objections were based on three areas. "One is protection of our water systems and groundwater, the second is on economics, and thirdly on climate change and the impact of burning the coal," he said.
Alpha's first exports have already been delayed until 2017 after a separate court challenge by another environmental group.
A joint project of Ms Rinehart's company Hancock Prospecting and Indian infrastructure group GVK, Alpha is part of the Galilee Basin where Clive Palmer is also seeking to develop a coal mine.
The future of the Galilee Basin has hit the headlines in recent days, with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman urging incoming prime minister Tony Abbott to ensure the mine projects are given every chance of coming to fruition.
But market conditions could also stymie the mines, with thermal coal prices continuing to languish.
Glencore Xstrata estimated last week that 30 per cent of Australian coal mines were unprofitable, which, if correct, would make it hard to justify new mines.