Traditional owners take mine expansion plans to Federal Court

A story from the ABC, Friday 23rd Feb 2007.

The traditional owners from McArthur River on the Gulf of Carpentaria have launched a Federal Court challenge to the former federal environment minister’s approval of expansion plans for the local zinc mine.

Former environment minister Ian Campbell cleared the way in October last year for Xstrata to divert the McArthur River for 5.5 kilometres to allow it to convert its zinc mine to open cut.

Mr Campbell approved the move under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Now the traditional owners are challenging that decision, saying Mr Campbell did not have all the information he needed when he approved the diversion.

They say a report he should have also considered showed there was not enough information about how the mine would affect fresh water sawfish populations and the local environment.

The traditional owners have already started action in the Northern Territory Supreme Court against the Martin Government’s decision to approve the diversion.

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