McArthur River – Supreme Court legal decision

The fight to protect the McArthur River from an expansion of Xstrata’s underground mine enters a new phase this week. The expansion involves the mining of and diversion of the McArthur River for 5.5km and risks severe impacts on the riverine environment from pollution and sedimentation.

The legal challenge by the Traditional Owners (Yanyuwa, Mara, Garrawa and Gurdanji) from McArthur River against the NT Government’s approval of the mine, will be handed down in the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory today at 2pm by Judge Angel.

A decision for the plaintiffs could see the NT Governments mining approval overturned and all work on the mine expansion and river diversion halted.

A second challenge by the Traditional Owners in the Federal Court (Darwin) starts on Thursday 3rd May. It challenges the validity of the Commonwealth  Minister for Environment and Heritage’s approval to construct the mine. The challenge centres on three issues, the bilateral agreement with the NT Government, failures associated with the conditions attached to the approval and a crucial lack of information relevant to threatened species.

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