14/10/2008 - 17:15

Fed govt mining decision set aside

14/10/2008 - 17:15

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Phosphate Resources Ltd has had a minister decision banning mining expansion plans on Christmas Island set aside.

Phosphate Resources Ltd has had a minister decision banning mining expansion plans on Christmas Island set aside.

Justice John Buchanan of the Federal Court yesterday delivered his ruling on the proceedings between the Clive Brown-chaired Phosphate and the then federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

In May last year, Mr Turnbull blocked a proposed expansion of phosphate mining on the island to protect its unique flora and fauna.

Phosphate sought to overturn the ban, saying the minister made numerous findings of fact not supported by evidence when making his decision to not grant the application of new mining leases.

Yesterday, Justice Buchanan said that based on the evidence received, he found the minister "failed to take into account the environmental impact statement" prepared by Phosphate.

As a result, he added that "legal error had been established and the decision made on 27 April 2007 should be set aside in its entirety".

The decision paves the way for Phosphate to apply for the additional mining tenements under the Rudd government.

An application for costs has not been made by Phosphate.

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.

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