CANBERRA, Australia: Australia's new government has announced plans to ban the development of a coal mine located near the Great Barrier Reef.
Due to the potential impact of the Central Queensland Coal Project on the reef, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she intends to deny approval for its further excavation.
The mine is located northwest of the Queensland state town of Rockhampton.
In a statement, Plibersek said, "Based on the information available to me at this stage, I believe that the project would be likely to have unacceptable impacts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and National Heritage Place."
The Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Area designated by the United Nations and Australia's National Heritage List, includes natural, historic and indigenous places of significance to the nation.
However, due to rising ocean temperatures that are killing its corals, UNESCO is considering downgrading the Great Barrier Reef's World Heritage status.
Before Plibersek makes her final decision, the mine's supporters have 10 business days to appeal the proposed refusal.
The Australian Greens, who have been pressuring the newly-elected Labour government to help reduce the country's greenhouse emissions, welcomed the announcement and urged the minister to reject another 26 planned coal mines.
The mine would have been an open-cut operation, which would have extracted up to 11 million tons of coal annually.