THE Clive Brown-chaired Phosphate Resources Ltd has taken court action against the federal government as it seeks to overturn a ban on the expansion of phosphate mining on Christmas Island. Listed Perth company CI Resources Ltd, also chaired by Mr Brown, is the major shareholder in Phosphate Resources, which is Christmas Island’s largest employer. Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull surprised the company in May when he blocked a proposed expansion of phosphate mining on the Indian Ocean island to protect its unique flora and fauna. Phosphate Resources is fighting the ruling in the Federal Court in Perth, saying the move would be catastrophic for the tiny community. The company says none of the fauna the minister seeks to protect lives on the blocks of land it proposes to mine. It believes Mr Turnbull made “numerous findings of fact not supported by evidence” when making his decision not to grant the application for new leases. Phosphate Resources human resources manager Choy Lan Seet said that: “If mining were to close permanently on the island, it would have a dire impact on our community.” Ms Seet’s comments came as Justice Robert French set down February 5 and 6, 2008 to hear the arguments in the Federal Court.
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