Happy 21st – Day 21 in the Forest!


Photo: Namoi Valley Independent

The third week of the Leard Forest blockade marked a major victory as Nathan Tinkler spectacularly failed to buy out the rest of Whitehaven Coal, who own the Tarrawonga mine and the vexed Maules Creek Coal Project. As Noble Group was being courted by the Tinkler camp, Front Line Action on Coal sent them and other investors an open letter reminding them that not only was the mine project marginal, but that we are here to stay. The bank was not willing to support a project whose approval process has been heavily delayed due to the Maules Creek community’s submissions to the process. Whitehaven’s shares have now plummeted to half their April peak.

Here at FLAC, we’ve been busy working with local community to collect signatures against coal and gas expansion at Gunnedah’s Agquip field days. Passions on coal and coal seam gas run high in the Gunnedah basin, with a lot of people very keen to sign. The event was relieved on Thursday by two homeless koalas who had strayed in front of the stall of Leard’s destroyer, Downer EDI mining. Like the two koalas found in Leard Forest before the mines came in, the koalas were quickly relocated.

Note the locked gates and stopped trucks

We’ve returned several times to Boggabri’s haul road to count trucks from the side of the road, but yet again our truck-counting efforts have been thwarted by the mine locking their own gates and stopping output of coal from the mine. So far, then, the total truck count is zero trucks over eight hours, but our statistics may be distorted by the mine’s self-imposed blockade.

Back at camp it was time for a bit of environmental creation in the midst of environmental destruction with the erection of an imposing greenhouse ready to feed hungry blockaders with fresh silver beet, parsley, celery and lettuce. Today’s food was topped off with an amazing cake and cookies dropped off by active locals. The camp furnishings and provisions from the local community makes FLAC Camp a contender for one of the most comfortable and gourmet blockade camps in Australian history!

We woke up this morning to a sound a little different to the usual birds and mine noises – a black helicopter containing a moping ex-billionaire scoping out what could have been his empire.