On 30 August 2023, the Gregory Crinum coal mine M Block expansion was approved by the Federal Government, an approval that will last until 31 December 2073.
It’s unlikely to operate for that long, the company’s website and the mine’s recent performance suggests that it will mine around 1 million tonnes of coal per year for 11 years.
Despite the extraordinary fact that Australia has just approved a new expansion of a coal mine as the impacts of climate change are clearer than ever, many things about this approval were entirely ordinary. The mine already had state approval and the Federal Department has issued four notices about it this year.
At every step along the way this new coal expansion proposal should have been stopped, because that’s what climate action requires.
But it wasn’t stopped. The project assessment-bureacratic-political machine just ploughed on and now we have a new coal project approved.
Clearly this needs to change, either with a change to the EPBC act with a different interpretation of the existing laws, as the Living Wonders case is arguing. Minister Plibersek’s earlier lapsing of two zombie mines shows that the Government and Department know how to stop fossil fuel projects when it suits them.
But we need new projects stopped not just when it suits the government. They all need to be stopped. Nothing less will do in the age of global boiling.
Read more in Guardian Australia: Coalmine approvals in Australia this year could add 150m tonnes of CO2 to atmosphere