NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee also called on the Greens, Lock the Gate, Greenpeace and others that have “so far condoned illegal protest activity” to publicly condemn this latest “dangerous and extreme act of sabotage”.
“Any refusal to do so is tacit endorsement of risking the lives of others to make a political point,” he said.
Local police are investigating an incident on September 10 where NSW Mining said trespassers, intent on disrupting approved operations at the Whitehaven mine at Maules Creek, entered the site in the dead of night and cut 187 down-lines attached to extremely powerful explosives, prepared as part of the mine operations. The trespassers then attempted to fill in the blast holes with dirt and rubble.
“The actions of these industrial saboteurs have put their own lives and the lives of Whitehaven personnel at risk,” NSW Mining said.
Galilee said that this “reckless and dangerous act of industrial sabotage” was a wake-up call for the NSW government.
“Those responsible have directly threatened lives, including their own, by tampering with powerful industrial explosive charges used in mine operations,” he said.
“Violent and dangerous activities have escalated in recent months.
“As well as deliberate trespassing and interference with heavy equipment by protesters, a security vehicle has been rammed, gates have been blockaded or destroyed, and now we have had industrial explosives being sabotaged.
“We have raised safety concerns about the trespassing of protesters with the NSW Government on a number of occasions. I hope we will now see action.
“Without action from the government to deter this type of illegal access activity it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt, despite the best efforts of police and emergency services personnel and site workers to ensure safety.”
He conceded that while people have a right to protest, he insisted it must be within the law.
“No one has the right to put others at risk; and when people choose to ignore the law they should be held accountable for their actions,” Galilee said.
“It’s also time for the Greens, Lock the Gate, Greenpeace, and others that have so far condoned illegal protest activity to,” he said.
This all comes after anti-coal campaigner Jonathan Moylan was sentenced in July to a year and eight months in jail after pleading guilty to contravening s1041E of the Corporations Act for disseminating false information to the market.
He created and disseminated a media release purportedly from ANZ bank announcing its withdrawal of a $1.26 billion loan facility to Whitehaven Coal for its Maules Creek project, leading to Whitehaven’s stock falling 8.8% before the hoax was revealed.