Campaigners secured railroad tracks and train cars in a bid to stop what they believed was the first shipment of coal from a controversial North Queensland mine.
But Bravus Mining and Resources – formerly Adani Australia – says the Carmichael mine is still “on track” despite protests and has been hauling coal from the site for weeks.
Five activists are in custody in Bowen, officers still negotiating Tuesday afternoon with another who is locked in a train car.
Police initially kicked out protesters Tammy Omodei and Andy Paine after they used steel pipes to attach themselves to a railroad track about 30 miles from Bowen around 6 a.m. on Tuesday.
Officers were also called to the nearby Armuna station, where other activists were kicked out after locking themselves in a Bravus coal wagon.
Protesters have pursued the Carmichael mining project for years and they were aimed again at disrupting plans after it was reported last week that Bravus was preparing to export coal from the port of Abbot Point, north of Bowen .
“Adani will claim their first shipment of coal is a victory. But it is certainly not a victory for our climate,” protester Paine said in a statement.
“That is why people are going to continue to resist this mine, as well as any new fossil fuel project.”
However, Bravus said it had already been transporting coal from the mine for some time as part of pre-export testing.
“The testing and commissioning of the trains has been underway for several weeks, including the transport of coal,” said a spokesperson for Bravus.
âAs is the usual process for new equipment and infrastructure, it should take some time as new machines and infrastructure are tested.
“The Carmichael mine is on track to export coal in 2021.”
Bravus said the protesters were putting themselves and others at risk if they continued to target the railroad tracks.
“They seem to ignore the danger they are putting themselves in,” the spokesperson said.
âWhat these protesters did this morning was incredibly selfish. They could have been killed or seriously injured.
âEveryone has the right to express their opinion, provided they do so in a legal, safe way and does not endanger themselves, our employees or members of the community.
“The actions of these anti-coal activists today were neither legal nor safe for themselves or anyone around them.”
The Carmichael Mine – located in the Galilee Basin about 400 km inland from Mackay – has been the center of numerous environmental protests and campaigns in the decade since its first proposal.
The project – construction of which began in 2019 after final federal and state government approvals – aims to unload 10 million tonnes of coal per year.
Associated Australian Press