Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM

GREENPEACE activists are out in force at the Whitehaven Coal annual meeting in Sydney this morning claiming the company’s controversial Maules Creek mine will “flatten” the Leard state forest in New South Wales.
Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM Greenpeace protests at today's Whitehaven AGM

Image courtesy Greenpeace

Lou Caruana

The activist group said the Maules Creek project would dump 18,000 tonnes of dangerous dust per year on local farms and drain the water table by 5-7 metres.

“This mine, and the expansion of adjacent existing mines, will devastate local communities … not to mention the social problems associated with a fly-in-fly-out population,” Greenpeace said.

“Who are the people set to profit from the destruction of this forest and the nearby farmlands? None other than the infamous Whitehaven Coal.

“Some of Australia’s most eminent ecologists claim that the company used false and misleading information in order to satisfy environmental assessments, prompting the Federal Court to start an investigation.

“Now they are only days away from bringing in the bulldozers to flatten the forest.”

Maules Creek was the target of a protest earlier this year when activist Jonathan Moylan allegedly sent a fake media release stating that the ANZ bank would be withdrawing funding for the Maules Creek project.

The stunt attracted global interest and galvanised community opposition despite Moylan being charged by ASIC.

In September, Whitehaven announced that it successfully defended an application for an injunction brought in the Federal Court by the Northern Inland Council for the Environment that would have restricted the start of construction of Maules Creek.

Throughout the Maules Creek three-year approval phase, Whitehaven’s project development team tried to build a comprehensive project delivery strategy, which was finally validated by all levels of government, managing director Paul Flynn said.

“The project has been through one of the most rigorous planning approvals processes ever undertaken by a mine in New South Wales and has been reviewed by a wide range of highly regarded environmental experts,” he said.

“The project is one of the most significant investments currently underway in regional NSW.”