Coal protestors convicted

Two activists who broke into a coal mine and scaled equipment last year have now been convicted.

The two men, Daniel Jones and Scott Mackenzie, accessed the mine in September last year, climbing onto a crusher and holding a banner stating Stop the Coal Rush: Protect Health, Water, Climate, according to the ABC.

It was part of two days of protest at the Boggabri coal mine.

At the time there were a number of protests right across the state aimed at coal, which were slammed by the NSW Minerals Council.

"The anti-coal protests over the last 72 hours by activists ideologically opposed to coal mining have wasted valuable emergency services resources and impeded the jobs of the thousands of people who rely on mining for their incomes," the council said.

Speaking at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia forum in Newcastle yesterday, NSWMC chief Stephen Galilee said the groups are deliberately attempting to destabilise mining, the central pillar of the Hunter Valley's economy.

“In the last few days we have seen protestors chain themselves to fences, forcing valuable police resources to be diverted from regular duties to remove them; we have seen active rail work sites on the Hunter Valley coal line tampered with posing a serious safety risk; and we have even heard mining in the Hunter Valley compared to the Chernobyl disaster,” Galilee said.

“What’s particularly disappointing is that hardened political activists are harnessing legitimate community concerns as part of a coordinated campaign.”

Jones and Mackenzie were charged with entering enclosed lands without a lawful excuse, hindering the work of mining equipment and remaining on enclosed lands, the ABC reports.

Jones was fined $2600, while Mackenzie was fined $1000 and received a two year good behaviour bond.

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