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D-Day for Minister - Decision Time for Mines Mired in Controversy

Lock the Gate Alliance has called on the Federal Environment Minister to reject the proposed Boggabri coal mines tomorrow, including the Whitehaven Maules Ck Project, or to expect legal problems. A decision is due on the mines under Federal Environment laws on the 7th February.

An independent scientific study released two weeks ago indicated the environmental assessments on which the mines were based was flawed and that the data used was incorrect.

"We are calling on the Federal Environment Minister to think long and hard about this one - it would be a very bad precedent to approve these mines based on false and incorrect information," said Carmel Flint, campaign co-ordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance.

"The man at the centre of the ANZ hoax, Jonathan Moylan, has been interviewed by ASIC and subject to heavy investigation - equal legal rigor needs to be applied to Whitehaven and allegations that they have sought a mining approval based on false information.

"If the Minister approves these mines without an independent inquiry or investigation, he will undermine the integrity of the Federal environment laws with a single stroke.

"There is no doubt that the legality of any decision will be in question and that the most likely consequence is a long and contested process through the courts.

"The proposed coal mines will clear over 4,000 hectares of Leard State Forest, destroy a critically endangered ecosystem and harm numerous threatened species including the Koala.

"We are calling on the Minister to reject the mines outright or to extend the time frame and commission a rigorous independent investigation into the information on which Whitehaven and the other miners have based their claims" she said.

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