Environmental violations in India by mining giant Adani will be the subject of a Federal Court case challenging the company's development of Australia's largest coal project.
Adani is developing the mammoth Carmichael coal mine in central Queensland and Australia's largest coal terminal at Abbot Point on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mackay Conservation Group launched a legal challenge to the project in January, alleging the Abbott government failed in its environmental assessment by not taking into account projected greenhouse gas emissions from the project.
The group has lodged an additional claim with the Federal Court this week claiming Environment Minister Greg Hunt did not adequately consider Adani's environmental track record in India before signing off on federal environmental approval.
Mr Hunt would not comment on the specifics of the case on Tuesday as the matter is before the court but a spokesman said the minister had approved the project in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Adani is fighting the claims and on Tuesday a spokesman said the mine had been assessed against strict standards and approved with more environmental conditions than any project in Australian history.
"The suggestion after the fact by activists who choose to intervene after a process is concluded that these exhaustive processes are flawed is baseless, and reflects a concerted determination to oppose mining and mining approvals in the abstract," he said.
The case escalates the hostile stoush between Adani and environment groups, which have fiercely opposed development at Abbot Point because of its proximity to the reef.
Last month, activist group GetUp released video footage shot by a film crew in India that they say documents the impact of Adani's power plants on the environment and villagers of Mundra on India's west coast.
"Adani has an appalling environmental track-record in India," Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Ellen Roberts said.
"In 2013 the Indian government found Adani guilty of serious breaches of Indian environmental law, including illegally clearing mangroves and destroying tidal creeks.
"It also found that infrastructure associated with the Adani's port in Mundra had been built without environmental approvals. None of this had been taken into account as part of the approvals process for Carmichael."
The group claims that "while Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt chose to assess Adani's environmental record, he failed to take key evidence into account, instead relying on a self-assessment submitted by the Indian conglomerate in 2010."
Ms Roberts said Adani's activities in India had "shown a reckless disregard for the environment".
But Adani's spokesman said the laws that govern environmental approvals in Australia were "world's best practice".
"The approvals process for the mine at Carmichael was the most stringent that has applied to a single site in the history of the Commonwealth's environmental approvals regime," he said.
"Over a nearly five-year period - commenced, then completed, under successive governments of differing political persuasions - the mine was assessed against these strict standards and then approved with more conditions than any other site in our nation's history.
"In much the same way, the state approvals process in Queensland was commenced under a Labor government, and concluded under an LNP government.
"In both instances, these assessments were undertaken by subject matter experts in adherence to robust environmental approval laws before the approvals were granted."
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