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 Coal miner Whitehaven Coal has welcomed the Federal Court’s dismissal of an application for judicial review proceedings over the company’s Narrabri Stage 3 extension project.

Greens group the Environment Council of Central Queensland Inc, started legal proceedings in June this year against two coal mine extension projects, including the Narrabri Stage 2 expansion, seeking to review a decision by the Federal Minister for the Environment and Water that the Narrabri Stage 3 underground mine would not be substantial cause of climate change on World Heritage properties and other matters of environmental significance.

Whitehaven said this week that the judgement by the Federal Court cleared the way for the Minister to make a final determination on the environmental approval for the Narrabri Stage 3 project, which would extend the mine life from 2031 to 2044, and would support around 500 continuing jobs in New South Wales.

The New South Wales Land and Environment Court recently dismissed judicial review proceedings regarding the State Significant Development Consent for coal miner Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Stage 3 expansion project.

The proceedings were brought by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) on behalf of the Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action Incorporated, and were seeking to invalidate the Consent on climate change related grounds.

The Federal Court ruling comes amid internal strife at Whitehaven, as a London-based hedge fund Bell Rock appeals to shareholders to stop Whitehaven from acquiring BHP’s coal mines in Queensland, and instead return the money to shareholders.

Whitehaven earlier confirmed that it was participating in the sale process’ initiated by the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) over the Duania and Blackwater metallurgical coal mines in Queensland.

Whitehaven temporarily suspended a share buy-back programme to consider the “application of its capital allocation framework in light of growth opportunities”.

Bell Rock has urged shareholders to vote against the company’s executive remuneration plans at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on October 26.