A protest outside the Wilpinjong mine near Wollar on Wednesday morning, has ended in three people being arrested.
It follows a protest outside the Planning Assessment Commission meeting in Mudgee on Tuesday, as the mine continues to seek an extension on the mining license.
Bev Smiles from the Wollar Progress Association was one of three people arrested outside the mine entrance.
The Mudgee Guardian spoke with Bev about the protest and her arrest. Listen below.
The Mudgee Guardian also spoke with Bev’s sister, Alison, who was at the protest.
“It was a peaceful protest outside the mine,” she said.
“Bruce Hughes and Stephanie Luke were also arrested.”
“There was some disruption for mine workers.”
The Wollar Progress Association and Lock The Gate action group claim – “The Wilpinjong coal mine – owned by Peabody Energy – began operations a decade ago, a few kilometres from the village of Wollar. Noise and air pollution from the mine have since driven away 90% of the local residents.”
“Peabody now proposes to expand the mine closer to Wollar. The NSW Planning Department has recommended the project for approval, despite admitting that it would kill off the village for ever.”
Before the PAC meeting in Mudgee, Bev Smiles stated “The treatment my community has received from Peabody Coal and the NSW Government has been nothing short of disgraceful”.
Protests at PAC meeting
Before Wednesday’s arrests, residents and supporters of Wollar protested against the proposed Wilpinjong coal mine expansion, when the NSW Planning Assessment Commission met in Mudgee to hear community views on Tuesday.
The group boycotted a public hearing in Mudgee in November 2016 due to their right to appeal the approval being removed.
They lined up to give their views to this hearing though, with tens of residents, former residents and supporters providing submissions.