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Tiny islands drive big challenge to mammoth Australia gas project

Energy major Santos wants to ship LNG to Japan, South Korea but locals resist

Australia's picturesque Tiwi Islands lie 80 kilometers north of the city of Darwin.   © Getty Images

BRISBANE, Australia -- A string of tiny islands off the north coast of Australia have become a huge thorn in the side of one of the country's largest commodity companies and its plans for a gas project in the area that is slated to supply Japan and South Korea.

The 2,000-strong Indigenous population of the remote Tiwi Islands last month won a landmark federal court case against energy major Santos, with the judge setting aside approval for the $3.6 billion Barossa offshore natural gas project after he found an industry regulator failed to assess if locals had been properly consulted.

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