Friday, 7 August 2015

Two Australian reptiles kick up a skink over coal mining

By Wendy FrewAustralia editor, BBC News Online

6 August 2015 

This week a giant coal mine that could produce millions of tonnes of coal for export to India was scuttled by two Australian reptiles.

After a five-year approval process, the humble Yakka Skink - a secretive lizard known to hide under rocks and inside hollow logs - and the Ornamental Snake brought to a halt a A$16bn ($12bn; £8bn) mine, rail and port project proposed for the Galilee Basin in Queensland.

The two reptiles are among Australia's most threatened species.

Because the federal environment minister failed to take into account what the mine could mean for their habitat, his earlier approval for the mine was overturned by the Federal Court of Australia.

The mine may still go ahead but the delay is the latest chapter in a long history of Australian flora and fauna causing grief to developers.

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