Whitehaven's Vickery mine extension won't be hindered by an ongoing class action over the coal mine, despite a "landmark judgement" by the Federal Court of Australia.
Eight high school students asked for the project to be halted, arguing it would contribute to climate change and therefore violate the federal government's obligation not to endanger young people's future.
In what the plaintiffs heralded as a "landmark judgement" the court found federal environment minister Sussan Ley has a duty of care not to cause them harm from climate change.
Nonetheless, the demand for an injunction on approving the mine was denied by the federal court on Thursday.
Whitehaven coal also welcomed the judgement, which found the environment minister could approve the company's new mine under federal environment law.
"Our consistent position has been that this legal claim was without merit," a spokesperson for Whitehaven said.
"The company sees a continuing role for high quality coal in contributing to global CO2 emissions reduction efforts while simultaneously supporting economic development in our near region. There is strong market demand for the high quality product of the type Vickery will produce.
"Major employment-generating investments in the economy will be essential as the Australian economy continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. It is critical there is confidence in the integrity of Australia's robust environmental approvals framework.
"Whitehaven looks forward to receiving the EPBC approval for the Vickery Extension Project and will keep the market updated as appropriate."
The eight children claimed to be acting on behalf of a "class" consisting of all the world's children under the age of 18 born up to September 8, 2020.
Ava Princi, 17, and one of the plaintiffs, said she was "thrilled" by the judgement.
"I'm thrilled because this is a global first. We understand it is the first time a court of law, anywhere in the world, has ordered a government to specifically protect young people from the catastrophic harms of climate change," she said.
"My future - and the future of all young people - depends on Australia joining the world in taking decisive climate action."
The judge called upon the parties to confer on orders over the future of the proposed project.
The $607 million Boggabri mining project was given the green light by the state government last year after two days of public hearings before the Independent Planning Commission.
Whitehaven Coal will now seek Commonwealth consent to expand the approved but unbuilt Vickery Coal Project, a project that would create about 500 jobs during the construction phase and 450 during operation.
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