Mumbai: Australia’s indigenous people Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J), traditional owners of the land proposed to host Adani Group’s $12-billion mining project in the Galilee basin of Queensland, have filed an interlocutory application in the Federal Court of Australia challenging the leases issued for the Adani Carmichael coal mine.

“The application will seek to have heard that the mining leases, announced by Queensland mines minister Anthony Lynham on 3 April, with the imprimatur of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, were not properly issued," the traditional owners said in a statement on Wednesday.

The traditional owners said the Queensland government issued the mine leases without the consent of the W&J people and despite their rejection of the Indigenous Land Use Agreement signed with the Adani Group.

The Adani Group declined to comment on the matter.

Adani Enterprises Ltd on 3 April won mining leases for its Carmichael coal project in Australia, moving a step closer to starting work at the controversial mine. Adani secured three leases from the Queensland state government for the coal project, which would be the largest in Australia.

In February, the Adani Group secured the approval of the Queensland government for the Carmichael mine project in the state’s Galilee Basin, amid protests from environmental activists in Australia.

In December, Australia allowed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland, which will enable shipping of the fuel from mines in the Galilee Basin, including Adani Group’s Carmichael mine.

The expansion, which will see 1.1 million cubic metres of material dredged near the Great Barrier Reef, was granted approval with 29 riders. The approval followed an Australian court spiking a green group’s attempt to block the Carmichael project, and recommending mining leases in October.

The W&J spokesperson and traditional owner Adrian Burragubba on Wednesday said, “We have formally rejected this disastrous project three times. In this light, Minister Lynham’s issuing of the mining leases is a shameful episode in the trashing of Traditional Owners’ rights by the exercise of government power."

Burragubba said if the state and Adani want their leases to take effect, they will have to forcefully take rights away in the full view of the world. “We will stand strong together. When we say no we mean no."

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