Police have started making arrests at Maules Creek mine after more than 80 people walked onto the site this morning in protest of the project.
It is understood more than 23 people have been arrested so far, with a spokesperson for the Leard Forest Alliance saying “police have moved in and are arresting or fining everyone on site”.
More than 80 people entered the construction site today to protest against Whitehaven Coal’s new mine.
Protests at the site have been ongoing, with this morning’s part of environmentalist group campaign “Act Up 3” – a movement employing acts of civil disobedience in order to stop the mine’s development.
Whitehaven Coal have previously labelled protests at the site a ”nuisance” and vowed to go ahead with the $766 million project.
“Protests are a nuisance – mostly for Police – but they will not deter Whitehaven Coal from getting on with building Maules Creek and delivering on the substantial economic benefits it will bring to the region,” the company has said.
“Protestors should respect the fact that this is an approved project that has passed the highest contemporary environmental approvals standards.”
Activists say the development of the mine will destroy the Leard Forest and claim Whitehaven has provided false biodiversity offset information regarding box gum trees.
While Gomeroi traditional owners say the company is destroying sacred sites as part of the mine’s development and are calling for Environment Minister Greg Hunt to enforce a stop work order.
Over 40 people have been arrested in the area since December as part of ongoing protests against coal mining in the Leard State Forest.