The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) is working with a legal team at the Environmental Defenders Office to investigate options to challenge a decision made by the South Australian government to grant an authorisation to the Leigh Creek Energy company to operate in the area of the old coal mine at Leigh Creek.

On 19 July 2020, Leigh Creek Energy Limited applied for authorisation under section 23 of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1989 for its proposed underground coal gasification development.  This type of authorisation means a company can:

Damage, disturb or interfere with any Aboriginal site, or

Damage any Aboriginal object, or

Disturb, interfere or remove any object or remains.

The Premier is required to make the decision about whether to grant the authorisation, although the Premier can ask someone else to make the decision for him (a delegate).

Before making the decision, the Premier must “take all reasonable steps to consult with” any Aboriginal organisation, any Traditional Owners, and any other Aboriginal persons who the Premier thinks have a particular interest.  The Premier also must consider any advice from the State Aboriginal Heritage Committee.  The Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (AAR) Branch in the Premiers Office is responsible for the consultation process.

On 31 December 2021, a delegate of the Premier decided to grant the authorisation to Leigh Creek Energy subject to some conditions.

Possible Legal Challenge

ATLA is opposed to the Leigh Creek Energy proposal as it is based on what we believe to be an unsafe and untested technology called ‘In-Situ Gasification’.  ATLA believes the project could cause significant environmental damage to the area and has the potential to further damage important cultural and heritage sites.  ATLA believes that the delegate of the Premier has made an incorrect decision by making the authorisation without adequate and proper consultation with the Adnyamathanha people.

In order for the Environmental Defenders Office to investigate a possible legal challenge to the section 23 authorisation they need to collect evidence from Adnyamathanha people to demonstrate how effective the consultation process was.  To do this we are asking all ATLA members to complete a short survey and email their responses to by 30 April 2022.  Responses can also be sent by mail to LCE Survey, PO Box 169, Jerrabomberra NSW, 2619.  If you prefer to complete the survey on-line this can be done on the ATLA Web Site and through ‘Survey Monkey’ using this link:

It is important that everyone completes this survey to enable the Environmental Defenders Office to assess the strength of any legal challenge.

How much do you know about the Leigh Creek Energy company and their proposal to build an in-situ gasification plant and other mining infrastructure at Leigh Creek?

Please read each of the questions and select the most appropriate responses by ticking the boxes

Thank you for completing the survey. 

Please press SEND to submit your form or email your completed survey to

Alternatively you can post it to
‘LCE Survey’, PO Box 169, Jerrabomberra, NSW, 2619 – no later than 30 April 2022.