Bulga, Rio Tinto, Coal Mining and Environmental Dispute Resolution

See on Scoop.itMining + Biodiversity

In this case, the NSW Land and Environment Court concluded that the economic benefits from the coal mine expansion proposal were outweighed by potential adverse environmental impacts – such as impacts on biodiversity, …


The April 2013 decision of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court overturned the NSW and federal government approval for a $3 billion expansion of Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth open-cut coalmine in the Hunter Valley. The residents of the small Hunter Valley town of Bulga had been involved in a three year court battle against Rio Tinto. The reasons for decision given by Preston CJ clearly illustrate how our courts should approach the complex concept of ecologically sustainable development to avoid past criticism that sustainability is conceptually too vague to have much practical value.

MJP EcoArchives‘s insight:

Australia has some really interesting examples of State and Federal Governance, together with Environmental and Development Planning – I like following their policy on how to deal with environmental and development management.


This article has a nice background into the law and policy behind some of the planning and sustainable development laws in Australia, and the author suggests that the negotiation/dispute resolution is a better pathway than litigation. The various government departments – at State and Federal level – are having a hard time achieving a ‘sustainable’ sustainable development solution to Rio Tinto’s mining proposal. Sustainable development isn’t about just taking social, economic and environmental elements into consideration – it’s also about how to weight and balance these.


I’m sure there will be no easy solutions, but Australia will continue to be an interesting and informative case-study in Sustainable Development.

See on www.disputeresolution.com.au


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