Idemitsu coal trucks halted by protestors

Yesterday protestors targeted Whitehaven and today they set their sights on Idemitsu Kosan’s Boggabri Coal mine as the fight to protect the Leard State Forest intensifies.

Protestors said they stopped trucks at the intersection with Therribri Road near the Namoi River this morning

The group, Front Line Action on Coal, said they are protesting against Idemitsu’s expansion plans which they say will lead to the “destruction of the Leard State Forest”.

Spokesperson Murray Drechsler said the mine's expansion would destroy "2000 hectares of habitat for koalas, regent honeyeaters and the swift parrot.”

“We will not give in until this forest is protected.”

The controversial expansion of Boggabri coal mine is being challenged in court by the Northern Inland Council for the Environment who are challenging the validity of former environment minister Tony Burke’s decision to approve the project.

The expansion means the mine can continue operating for a further 21 years, and is able to increase its production from 3.5 million tonnes of coal per year to seven million tonnes.

 It will also increase the disturbance area up to 1835 hectares – with nearly 1400 hectares of the Leard State Forest expected to be cleared.

Protests at the Boggabri site are not uncommon, with environmental groups promising to do what they can to hamstring the development.

Two men who broke into the mine last year were convicted in July.

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.

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

Long term resident and farmer Phil Laird claims the two projects would impact the natural environment.

‘‘We don’t want this area to become the next Hunter Valley,’’ Laird said.

‘‘Between them, Maules Creek and Boggabri mines will account for more than 4000hectares of the 7500-hectare Leard State Forest, leaving massive final voids that the scientific experts said should be filled in.

‘‘Environmentally, the mines will devastate various native species including koalas and swift parrots, and as farmers, we are concerned about the damage the mines will do to the surrounding aquifers.’’

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