To approve or reject - those are the options suggested by the Queensland Land Court to the state government on the planned $6.2-billion Alpha Coal Mine in Galilee Basin. The project is a joint venture between Australia's richest person Gina Rinehart and GVK, an Indian conglomerate.
If it would approve the application for a mining licence, Land Court member Paul Smith - who recommended rejection - urged for stricter water testing and compensation scheme with graziers if the mine would damage the area's ground water.
The project, which aims to export 30 million tonnes of coal annually, has secured federal and state approvals, but a farmers' group and environmentalists tried to oppose the key Queensland project by launching a legal challenge.
The ball is now in the hands of the state government if it would implement the non-binding recommendation of the Land Court on the Alpha Coal project.