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Anti-coal activists use locking devices to delay $21B project

Rupert Russell Jeanette Kemp
L-R: Frontline Action on Coal activists Rupert Russell and Jeanette Kemp

Anti-mining protestors wreaked havoc at a $21 billion coal development by locking themselves to machinery at the nation’s most northerly deepwater port.

Frontline Action on Coal activists Jeanette Kemp and Rupert Russell thought it would be a good idea to put their arms in an elbow lock mechanism at a conveyor belt, which is normally used to load coal onto ships at the Abbot Point Port, 194km southeast of Townsville.

‘People power’

The 7am stunt forced Bravus Mining and Resources (formerly known as Adani) to stop operating the conveyor belts, which will be used to help load coal product from the Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont.

A photo of the pair show the elbow lock mechanism carrying a message about using public demonstration to exercise political pressure.

“Rupert and Jeanette are stopping coal conveyor belts from loading coal onto ships at Adani’s Abbot Point Port, effectively delaying coal from being exported,” Frontline Action on Coal said on Facebook.

“Their elbow lock-ons read ‘people power,’ referring to their messaging of wanting more people to take part in direct action to stop destructive industries from polluting the planet.”

Management called ‘crazy’

Kemp, who works as an ecologist, accused Bravus management of behaving in a mad, wild or aggressive manner for proceeding with the project.

“I know a fair bit of that country where the mine is and got to know the vegetation through my work as an ecologist [and] It is just crazy to me that we are going to dig up this whole area,” she said according to the Australian Associated Press.

She claimed protecting the land was more important than creating more than 11,000 direct and indirect jobs at the mine site.

“There are too many mines that are damaging our land and I just do not want to see Queensland go that way,” she said.

Russell does not work because he is retired.

Stunt fails to stop 11,000 jobs

Bravus dismissed the civil disobedience as one of many media stunts that ultimately failed to stop the project from proceeding, especially since all the necessary regulatory approvals have already been granted.

The company has already hired more than 2000 workers and awarded contracts worth a combined $1.5 billion.

An estimated 90 per cent of successful tenderers are based in Rockhampton, Townsville, Mackay, Clermont, Collinsville, Gladstone, Toowoomba and other parts of the Sunshine State.

“The Stop Adani movement said our project would never go ahead and would never create a single job. We have again proved our opponents wrong,” Bravus CEO David Boshoff said in a public statement.

“We have always said that the Carmichael Project would be a major generator of jobs and … we are putting money in the pockets of workers and businesses in north and central Queensland. That helps families and communities [and] it keeps shops open and gives people hope for the future so they can plan ahead, whether that means buying a house, taking a holiday or expanding their business.”

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Bravus recently celebrated its first controlled blast at the mine site, which helped move more than 2.5M cubic metres of soil that covered coal seals underneath.

“Using excavators they have dug down more than 12 metres. Now we have reached rock we have begun to use controlled blasts to break it up so the excavators and trucks can move it [and] this means coal production is one step closer to being a reality,” Boshoff said.

He expects the mine’s first coal to be produced in 2021.

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