Aboriginal groups in Australia, particularly the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people, have vowed to fight the construction of the $16 billion Carmichael coal mine to be built in central Queensland. The traditional owners claimed the mine that is owned by the Adani group of India would destroy their ancestral lands and cultural heritage.

The W&J people said they had never given the Adani group any explicit notice that they approved the construction of the mine in the Galilee basin region. “Reports say Adani took legal action to override the locals. If successful, this would allow the Queensland government to compulsorily acquire the land and issue a lease for the Carmichael mine,” Business Standard reports.

On Thursday, independent Nicklin MP Peter Wellington was presented with a declaration by W&J Family Council spokesman Adrian Burragubba. The document called on the Queensland State Government to rule out compulsory acquisition of the land, effectively barring the progress of the mine. Burragubba said the proposed coalmine will not only destroy their connection and cultural heritage but also “harm the delicate environment beyond repair, fracturing ties that we have with our sacred sites and our ancestors."

Adani’s legal action it seemed was a response to the legal action filed by the native title claimants in 2004. The Federal Court still has to come up with a rule over the squabble, which makes the W&J people as still having the negotiating rights over the land.

The mine, according to The Australian, has already won the necessary environmental approvals from the state as well as from the federal government. It is one of five projects under development in the basin. Production is expected to start within three years. “The W&J people claim their human rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People were not being recognised or enforced,” ABC reports.

Indian resource giant Adani remains hopeful they could reach amicable agreement with the local aboriginal clans. ““Adani respects the W&J’s cultural heritage and can confirm it has been working closely with the W&J since 6 September 2011 under a cultural heritage management plan agreed with the W&J.”

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