Activist who shut down Idemitsu’s Boggabri mine fined $300

An activist who shut down Idemitsu’s Boggabri coal mine after scaling a coal loader on site has been fined $300 and placed on a good behaviour bond.

Sarah Littlewood, an unemployed teacher from Dulwich Hill, appeared in Gunnedah Local Court along with 28 others in relation to the mine site protest carried out on December 18, 2013.

Magistrate Kok heard Littlewood, 25, and an accomplice entered the mine site in the early hours of the morning, armed with rope, harnesses and refreshments.

They scaled the 40-metre high coal loader before unfurling a sign which read: “Protect Our Water (in English); Water is for Everyone (in Japanese)”.

The mine was shut for over six hours as the pair refused to remove themselves at the direction of police who arrived at the scene shortly after 8:30am.

The pair climbed down after 5:30pm and were arrested and charged with maliciously hindering the working of mining equipment, entering a prescribed premises of any person without a lawful excuse and entering enclosed lands.

Littlewood entered pleas of not guilty to the first two charges but admitted to entering enclosed lands and was fined $300.

Kok found Littlewood guilty on the first charge and placed her on a Section 9, 12 month good behaviour bond.

A police statement read out the court said the action of Littlewood “caused the mine to lose millions of dollars in lost coal production”.

Hearings for the 28 other people involved will be heard in Narrabri Local Court in August.

Idemistu’s CEO has previously expressed concern for the safety of people who gain unauthorised entry to coal mines.

“What these people are doing is both illegal and dangerous, and it interrupts our company and our people from doing their job and making a living,” he said

The mine was targeted again in February this year when women dressed in a bat suit costumes climbed the same structure and used ropes to hang upside down.

The activists say they are protesting against Idemitsu’s expansion plans which they claim will lead to the “destruction of the Leard State Forest”.

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