This case involved a judicial review challenge to the consideration of greenhouse gas emissions from a large coal mine in New South Wales, the Anvil Hill Project (later renamed Mangoola Open Cut).
The mine is located in the Hunter Valley, 20 km west of Muswellbrook and when it was applied for it had an estimated coal reserve of 150 million tonnes. It was originally owned by Centennial Coal.
The greenhouse gas emissions from the Anvil Hill Project were also the subject of landmark litigation in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court, resulting in the decision in Gray v Minister for Planning  NSWLEC 720. The litigation considered here involves a different case about the same project.
The case considered here involved a judicial review application in the Federal Court of Australia in 2007 by a community group, the Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc (AHPWA). The group challenged a decision made by a delegate of the Commonwealth Environment Minister under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act) that the Anvil Hill Project was not a controlled action under the Act. The group challenged the delegate’s decision that the mine would not cause a significant impact on any matter of national environmental significance protected under the Act due to the greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of the coal.
The trial judge, Stone J, dismissed the application. Her Honour held:
- the delegate’s approach to determining whether greenhouse gases from the coal mine would have a significant impact on a matter protected under the Act contained no legal error;
- the delegate’s approach to determing whether a listed threatened ecological community existed on the site contained no legal error; &
- the Minister’s decision under section 75 of the EPBC Act does not involve a jurisdictional fact.
The Full Court dismissed an appeal against the second and third of these findings.
EPBC Act application documents
- Referral of the Anvil Hill Project on behalf of Centennial Hunter Pty Limited, a subsidiary of Centennial Coal Company Limited.
- Location map and satellite image of the Anvil Hill Project site included in the referral to the Minister.
- Submission and supplementary submission by AHPWA to the Minister that the Anvil Hill Project is a controlled action.
- Decision that the Anvil Hill Project is not a controlled action.
- Statement of reasons that the Anvil Hill Project is not a controlled action.
Judicial review application
- Application for an Order of Review, filed 17 May 2007.
- Affidavit filed on behalf of AHPWA regarding standing.
- Amended Application for an Order of Review, filed 10 July 2007.
- Applicant’s outline of argument, filed 8 August 2007.
- Application for an Order of Review (Version 3), filed 21 August 2007.
- Judgment of Stone J dismissing the application in Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc v Minister for the Environment and Water Resources  FCA 1480.
Appeal to the Full Court
- Notice of Appeal, filed 11 October 2007.
- Judgment of the Full Court dismissing the appeal in Anvil Hill Project Watch Association Inc v Minister for the Environment and Water Resources  FCAFC 3.
Media reports about this case
Mangoola Open Cut newsletters, Glencore, 2008-
Mangoola Coal Mine: in focus, Australian Mining, 11 July 2013.