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Extinction Rebellion which is an activist group has blocked access to Bathurst’s Coal Mine, Canterbury.
The Bathurst Coal Mine is currently seeking consent from the Environment Canterbury committee and the Selwyn District Council to expand the coal mine and increase its coal extraction.
Activists had locked themselves into two vehicles across the access road which prevented any entry into the mine from 4.30 am this morning, while other groups of activists locked themselves inside diggers on the mine site.
“It is outrageous that Bathurst is applying to expand this coal mine in the middle of a climate emergency. We need to be retiring coal mines, not expanding them,” said Julie Thompson, whose family farm is close to the mine.
“We have closed the mine until further notice because the climate crisis is already causing profound suffering across the world. Coal can’t cook the climate if we leave it in the ground.”
The Coal Mine in recent times has increased its extraction without consent. If approval does happen to take place and pass, Canteburys Bathurst’s Mine consents would jump from 20,000 tonnes to 185,000 tonnes of coal per year.
The company has been extracting more coal than they have consent for, and have breached consents numerous times in the past hence why the Extinction Rebellion has put a halt to any operations since this morning.
“To tackle the climate crisis we must stop burning coal. As a Māori wahine I’m here today to stand up for Papatūānuku (mother earth) and to protect our Whenua (land) for future generations,” says Josie Butler, part of XR’s Tangata Whenua group, Te Waka Hourua and XR Ōtautahi.
Accordingly, Fonterra uses the coal from the mine to burn at Fonterra milk factories to dehydrate milk into milk powder.
The Extinction Rebellion group says that the mine is expanding ‘to feed Fonterra’s coal addiction’.
“While Fonterra is burning coal to dry milk, they are burning the time we have to respond to the climate crisis,” said Butler.
Extinction Rebellion is calling for Bathurst and the central government to work together to decommission the coal mine.
Image courtesy: Extinction Rebellion Christchurch