A new age of anti-mining activism? [opinion]

For the longest time the image of the anti-mining protestor was that of someone waving a placard, marching down the street – or outside the mine – vocally decrying the mine's operation. 

These protests soon ramped up to include people blockading mines and sites by chaining themselves to equipment, fences, or trees in an effort to bring work to a halt; although their efforts rarely did. 

While operations stopped briefly, they soon continued, rendering many of the protests essentially moot; take for example the two year plus series of Maules Creek protests, kayakers blocking Newcastle Harbour, or activists storming mining companies' offices. 

It wasn't until they began to take a capitalist approach – hitting them in the hip pocket – that eco-activists really began to make an impact. 

The perfect case study is of course Jonathon Moylan and his fake ASX release that ANZ was pulling out of Whitehaven coal, a move that wiped out millions from the coal miner's value. 

Now compare the effect this had on Whitehaven compared to the protests. 

It's enormous.  

This led to the ethical investment and fossil fuel divestment push, which has seen many banks and finance houses consider pulling out of coal mining or other fossil fuel companies.  

And now Greenpeace is taking it to a whole new level. 

The environmental group is planning to take brown coal mines and power plants out of commission by actually buying them. 

The group is currently exploring its funding options to buy major European energy generator Vattenfall's brown coal mines and power plants in Germany. 

However, it will need around two to three billion euros to do so; although it is considering donors or crowd funding to raise the money needed. 

Of course, if they did buy it they would not actually operate the mine, instead keeping the lignite in the ground. 

So, how does Greenpeace believe its supporters feel about the environmental group owning coal mines? 

"Mostly, we would believe it would be our supporters who would be interested in such an acquisition to save the climate," Juha Aromaa, a Greenpeace spokesman, said. 

It is – if you'll excuse the pun – completely left of centre for the group. 

But you have to give it to them, they are realising that the old ways of protesting aren't cutting it in the modern age and they are taking the capitalist approach of buying a competitor or opposed interest in order to take them out of the market. 

So if this is where it starts, where does it end?