Court rejects Kepco thermal coal mine again

Close up of coal mound with industrial machinery in background (Kepco)
Image: Shutterstock

An Australian court has upheld a decision to deny approval for South Korean power utility Kepco to develop a thermal coal mine in New South Wales state due, in part, to its impact on climate change, Reuters reports.

Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco) wants to develop the Bylong Coal project, about 200km northwest of Sydney, to mine up to 6.5 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum for 25 years.

Kepco lost its bid yesterday, with the appeal court in New South Wales ordering it to pay costs.

“The appellant has been unsuccessful with respect to each ground of appeal. The appeal must be dismissed and the appellant must pay the costs,” the court said.

Its ruling upheld a 2019 decision by the state’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) and a second challenge in the state’s land court.

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The IPC denial of planning approval had cited the impact Bylong would have had on water, highly productive farming country, and the climate.

“The IPC made its decision based on that evidence, finding that this coal mine is not in the public interest,” the Environmental Defenders Office, which opposed the project, said in a statement.

“Two subsequent appeals have thoroughly tested and supported the IPC’s decision to refuse the mine.”

The United Nations has called for coal to be phased out by 2030 in nations belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Australia is on a path to net zero carbon emissions but has refused to set a timeline, saying Australia would update its 2030 emissions projections going into the Glasgow talks in November.