Anti coal protestors have claimed responsibility for bullying a mining services provider into withdrawing from a foreign-backed coal development in Central Queensland.
Galilee Blockade has confirmed its relentless interruptions and civil disobedience forced Downer EDI to abandon its lucrative contract with India-headquartered Bravus Mining and Resources’ (formerly Adani) Carmichael Coal Project in Belyando, 435km west of Mackay.
Disruptive deal breaker
“We got the company with a $2.6B deal with Adani, to completely build and operate their mine, to walk away,” the group said on its website.
“In the Supreme Court … Adani disclosed the number of contracts they are currently engaged in – a massive 350. With Downer, there would have been one. Sustained and disruptive action works.”
Downer’s departure in late 2017 forced Bravus to directly manage construction of the coal mine on an owner-operator basis. The proponent had initially blamed the Queensland Government for failing to support $900 million in taxpayer-funded money for a new rail link between the mine and port. However, the latest admission reveals activism was another deciding factor behind the contract’s cancellation.
Brisbane Supreme Court recently began hearings between Bravus and Galilee Blockade protestor Ben Pennings, who was allegedly caught trespassing on company property and threatening employees.
The proponent accuses Pennings of acting beyond the legal boundaries of free speech and peaceful assembly in the past decade by live-streaming videos of employees and contractors. He allegedly used these images without their consent or knowledge across social media channels to “belittle and intimidate them” even though they were simply doing their job.
The activist is also blamed for making workers feel distressed because he would show up and demand meetings with executives without an appointment.
“Pennings cannot be trusted with confidential documents related to Carmichael project contractors that include contractor identification details, and details on the safe construction of the mine and rail,” Bravus said in a public statement.
“While this behaviour has had no immediate impact on our progress, it has put our employees, contractors and the activists themselves in potential danger.”
Activist could lose home
Pennings believes he will go bankrupt if he loses the lawsuit, and Galilee Blockade claims the litigation was intended to “silence” dissent and “instil fear into protestors”.
“We did not bow down to Adani’s ‘trained attack dog’ legal strategy. We have not been silenced,” the group said before asking supporters for donations.
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