Illegal protests continue at Maules Creek mine

Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek mine is again the target of illegal protests today as two people chained themselves to a crane at the construction site in north-west New South Wales.

Environmentalist Sam Hagen, 25, and social worker Courtney Hagan, 23, both from Queensland, said their aim is to hamper the development of the “unjust” project.

“This mine is without integrity to the core, from the immediate community that it impacts to the larger picture of climate change that it will exacerbate,” Hagen said.

Spokesperson for the Leard Forest Alliance, Helen War, has called on the Premier of NSW, Mike Baird, to halt to mine’s construction and believes the project’s approval process requires an investigation by the Royal Commission.

More than 229 people have been arrested since protests begun in the Leard State Forest, and at surrounding mines in the Boggabri area, in January.

Activist claim the construction of Maules Creek, and the expansion of other coal mines, will destroy the forest and impact on water and air quality in the area.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn has recently said its $767 million project is nearly halfway complete, and on track to produce first coal in March 2015.

The company is preparing to hire the 450 workers it will need to operate the mine, and said protests will not deter it from building the project.

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

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