Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises is facing possible further delays in constructing a giant coal mine in Australia after an environmental group lodged a fresh legal challenge on the grounds the project would harm the Great Barrier Reef and contribute to climate change.
Australia's Environment Minister on 15 October re-issued an environmental permit for construction of the mine, costing an estimated $7 billion, after clearing concerns raised in an earlier legal challenge over two rare outback species that set the project back by several months.
On Monday, lawyers for the Environmental Defenders Office acting for the Australian Conservation Foundation launched a review of that approval.
"This case is about whether the minister correctly applied the law when considering the impacts of the project on the Great Barrier Reef and endangered Black-throated finch," said Sean Ryan, the principal EDO solicitor for the foundation.
Adani, which originally aimed to ship 40 million tonnes of coal a year in the mine's first phase starting in late 2017, could not be reached for immediate comment.
"Our question is--has the Environment Minister properly applied this legal obligation when considering the impacts of burning coal from this mine on the Great Barrier Reef?" Ryan said.
The grounds for the review included one in relation to the Black-throated finch and three concerning climate change and the Great Barrier Reef, according to Ryan.
Environmentalists are fighting the mine on numerous fronts, lobbying banks not to provide loans and urging The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to designate the Great Barrier Reef "in-danger", citing potential damage from port dredging, shipping and climate change stoked by coal from the mine.
Adani has battled environmental opposition since work on the project started five years ago. Progress on the mine was blocked in August after a claim, Adani failed to take into account the welfare of the yakka skink and ornamental snake.
While a push in India to rely more on solar and wind power and domestic sources of coal has raised questions over the viability of the project, Adani has said the majority of Carmichael production had been pre-sold, guaranteeing revenue.