Four arrested as Maules Creek mine protest intensifies

NSW Police have used a cherry picker to dismantle a massive tripod and rescue its occupant as tensions at the Maules Creek mine protest intensify.

The protester was removed from the makeshift structure and lead away by police at around 2pm, with hundreds of other activists refusing to leave the mine site.

Three other people have also been taken away by police.

Over 100 people descended on the Maules Creek mine site this morning as direct activism to halt construction of the mine entered the 14th day.

Having lost a court case which would have prevented the $767 million project from going ahead, environmentalists have ramped up their fight against Whitehaven Coal and its project.

Activists say if the mine goes ahead it will destroy the Leard State Forest, affect water and force farmers off their land.

They also claim the mine was approved based on false and misleading information,

 More than 10 activists have been arrested since construction at the site commenced on January 13.

“The men and women taking part in this blockade have been compelled to make sacrifices and put themselves at risk of arrest to protect something of great value,” the group’s spokeswoman Georgina Woods said.

“This mine should never have been approved: Environment Minister Greg Hunt can put a stop to all of this by revoking the approval that was mistakenly given to clear this forest for coal mining.

“We certainly won’t be giving up on this community, this forest and the people that love it.”

Last week saw men and women chained to gates, excavators and perched in trees in order to stop the felling of trees.

Traditional Owners are also opposed to the project and say Whitehaven have not properly assessed the "culturally significant forest, artefacts and cultural values".

Whitehaven say they will not be deterred from building the mine.

“Protests are a nuisance – mostly for Police – but they will not deter Whitehaven Coal from getting on with building Maules Creek and delivering on the substantial economic benefits it will bring to the region,” the company said in a statement.

“Protestors should respect the fact that this is an approved project that has passed the highest contemporary environmental approvals standards.”

Whitehaven said today’s protests had not halted planned construction at the site.
















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