• Opponents of the mine rally outside parliament house in Brisbane. (NITV)
Adani gained federal government approval for its controversial mine project but could be stopped by a courtroom confrontation from Traditional Owners.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

Source:
NITV News
10 Apr 2019 - 5:27 PM  UPDATED 10 Apr 2019 - 5:27 PM

Traditional Owners opposed to the Carmichael mine will mount a legal challenge in the federal court next month to overturn Adani's crucial agreement with Indigenous landholders. 

The mining company's groundwater management plan was approved this week by Federal Environment Melissa Price and before construction can begin the Queensland government needs to sign off on environmental approvals.

However, if successful, next month's court hearing could have severe ramifications. 

A handful of Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) native title claimants are seeking to invalidate Adani's Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA), which is required for the mining company to build key infrastructure. 

Some W&J native title claimants support the mine but those who oppose it say the ILUA is a "sham". 

Their claims were dismissed in a court hearing last year and the group will now appeal that verdict to the full bench of the federal court. 

'An act of war on our people'

Adrian Burragubba, one of the anti-Adani claimants, said he felt confident ahead of the hearing.

"That full bench federal court has allowed us to argue at least ten points – all we need is one of those points to get up in that argument and that ILUA will then become null and void," he told NITV News.

"You can’t start building a mine until you get that ILUA, so nobody wants to talk about it because it’s the main thing that’s holding up the mine."

Adani has got federal approval for its groundwater plan.

Mr Burragubba  also criticised the federal government's decision to approve Adani's groundwater management plan, claiming the project would destroy ancient springs. 

"Water is part of our dreaming as First Nations people," he said.

"This will fracture our ties with our ancestors and will essentially be an act of war on our people."

Environmental approval 'reeks of political interference'

Meanwhile, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said she would not be rushing the remaining approvals. 

"I will not be bullied and I will not allow the regulator to be bullied," the Labor MP said. 

"The federal minister's decision yesterday to approve Adani's [groundwater management plan] reeks of political interference, and in many ways puts into question the integrity of her decision-making process."

Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow said the approval followed 18 months of environmental evaluation by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

"The measures outlined in the plans will ensure groundwater at the mine, and the ecosystems that depend on it, are protected," he said in a statement.