The Australian government has approved a new coalmine development for the first time since it was elected last year.
Tanya Plibersek, the federal environment minister, indicated she would give the green light to the Isaac River coalmine in Queensland’s Bowen basin. It was announced late on Thursday.
The mine, to be developed by Bowen Coking Coal, is planned for 28km east of Moranbah, next to five other coalmines, and expected to produce about 500,000 tonnes of metallurgical coal a year for five years. Metallurgical coal, also known as coking coal, is used in steelmaking.
Climate campaigners had made public statements calling on Plibersek to reject the mine in line with scientific advice that no new fossil fuel developments should go ahead if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C.
“Scientists, energy and climate experts have said that the climate cannot afford new coalmines, and they’ve said it so many times I’ve lost count,” said Rod Campbell, research director at the Australia Institute.