Protesters Halt Tree Clearing At Maules Creek
Over the weekend around ten environmental activists locked themselves to tree clearing plant and equipment at the protest-plagued Maules Creek coal mine in New South Wales.
The activists were protesting against the clearing of sections of Leard State Forest saying the area was ecologically sensitive and home to a number of endangered species.
According to the ABC, police rescue crews took several hours to cut the protesters free and remove them from the area.
Around 100 other protesters on site also tried to prevent clearing activities from proceeding.
Mine operators, Whitehaven Coal, was attempting to re-commence clearing on Sunday in adherence to guidelines handed down by NSW’s Department of Planning.
The guidelines instructed that clearing was only to be conducted between February 15 and April 30 each year to “avoid harming animals during breeding and roosting periods and also during winter’s hibernation months,” according to the ABC.
Despite years of protests, the mine was officially opened on 3 February by NSW Premier Mike Baird.
One of the largest mines ever built in NSW, the Maules Creek project is expected to directly employ 470 workers when fully operational and produce around 13 million tonnes of coal a year, over 30 years.