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MELBOURNE, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Environmentalists launched an appeal on Thursday to overturn a permit granted for an Australian coal port to dump millions of cubic metres of sand near the Great Barrier Reef, arguing it fails to protect the World Heritage site.
An independent agency charged with protecting the reef granted a permit in January for 3 million cubic metres of soil dredged up at the port of Abbot Point to be dumped about 25 km (15 miles) from the reef.
The North Queensland Conservation Council filed a challenge to the permit at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Brisbane on Thursday.
The port is being expanded for $16 billion worth of coal projects planned in the untapped Galilee Basin by two Indian firms, Adani Enterprises and GVK, and Australian billionaire Gina Rinehart.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Paul Tait