A HEARING has began in the Federal Court in Brisbane today between an environmental group and Environment Minister Greg Hunt over the approval of the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is taking the minister to court, arguing that he unlawfully approved the Carmichael Mine without properly considering the impacts on climate change.

It is believed the ACF will argue during the two-day hearing that the minister's approval was inconsistent with the Federal Government's international obligations to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy

ACF chief executive Kelly O'Shanassy spoke outside court before the hearing commenced, and said if the Carmichael mine proceeded, it would produce 128.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year at its peak production.

"This is the first case of its kind to be heard in Australia," she said.

"The Court will be asked to examine a section of Australia's national environment law that has never before been tested in court.

"If this case is successful it will strengthen climate change considerations and World Heritage protection in Australian law."