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Rinehart's Qld coalmine a step closer

AAP logoAAP 27/09/2016

A Gina Rinehart coalmine slated for Queensland's Galilee Basin is a step closer after clearing a legal challenge from environmentalists in the state's highest court.

Hancock Coal's proposed Alpha mine is expected to produce 32 million tonnes of coal each year and generate thousands of jobs.

Environmental group Coast and Country have been trying to block the mine in court, arguing it would produce 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year which would harm the Great Barrier Reef.

But the group lost its latest legal challenge in the Court of Appeal on Tuesday and was ordered to pay the costs of Hancock Coal and the minister for environment and heritage protection.

Environmental Defenders Office chief executive Jo-Anne Bragg said the group could consider an appeal to the High Court given it was a "very important public interest case".

But GVK Hancock spokesman Josh Euler said four years of drawn-out legal argument had finally come to an end.

He said the project would create thousands of jobs for the state and would now go through to the mining lease approval process before proper construction could start.

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