63-year-old woman locked to water tank: work halted at Maules Creek mine

Ongoing protests at the controversial Maules Creek mine have continued today with a group of people blockading access to a water tank, including a 63-year-old archaeologist who has locked herself onto the pump. The group is protesting Whitehaven’s hoarding of water licences and the impact the mine will have in availability of water in the area.

Spokesperson for the Leard Forest Alliance, Ben Solity, said, “In this time of drought, Whitehaven’s proposed Maules Creek mine has 50 per cent of the high security water from the Namoi river.”

“This new coal mine already has a license to access at least 3 billion litres (3,000ML) of water every year from the Namoi River to operate, or enough to fill 1,200 olympic swimming pools. Underground aquifers are the lifeblood to local farmers here on the Liverpool Plains, where 37% of Australia’s cereals and grains are grown. Eventually, Maules Creek mine will obliterate and pollute these water sources.”

The action today demonstrates the broad spectrum of community members concerned and willing to risk arrest to stop the Maules Creek mine, from academics, to local farmers and indigenous people. 31 people have so far been arrested protesting two mining companies expanding into the Leard State Forest.

Mr Solity added, “The issue of water is too important to ignore. We will not be going anywhere until the new Maules Creek mine is stopped.”

UPDATE: The woman was removed and arrested by police. 32 people have been arrested in recent weeks over protests against mining in the Leard State Forest.