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Climate Activists Block Canterbury Coal Mine

Press Release – Extinction Rebellion NZ

Bathurst Resources’ Canterbury coal mine was out of action today as a group of 33 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) tautahi, Te Waka Hourua (XR), XR tepoti and XR Whakat blocked the access road into the mine. Activists locked …

Bathurst Resources’ Canterbury coal mine was out of action today as a group of 33 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Ōtautahi, Te Waka Hourua (XR), XR Ōtepoti and XR Whakatū blocked the access road into the mine.

Activists locked themselves into two vehicles across the access road, preventing entry into the mine from 4.30am, while other activists locked themselves inside diggers on the mine site.

Bathurst Resources is currently seeking consent from Environment Canterbury and the Selwyn District Council to expand the coal mine and increase its coal extraction.

“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.”

Bathurst has already dramatically increased its coal extraction at the Canterbury mine without consent. If approved, Bathurst’s consents would jump from 20,000 tonnes of coal to 185,000 tonnes per year. The company are currently extracting more coal than they have consent for, and have breached consents numerous times in the past.

“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.

The majority of coal from the mine is burned at Fonterra milk factories to dehydrate milk into milk powder. The group says that the mine is expanding to feed Fonterra’s coal addiction.

“While Fonterra are burning coal to dry milk, they are burning the time we have to respond to the climate crisis,” said Butler.

The group is calling for Bathurst and central government to work together to decommission the coal mine while guaranteeing security and wellbeing for workers.

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