Protesters halt operations at Southland Coal Mine
The Takitimu Coal Mine in Nightcaps, Southland saw its operations halted by around 30 environmental activists this morning. Photo / Luisa Girao
A coal mine in Southland has been closed by environmental activists who say it’s time for the country to stop coal.
The Takitimu Coal Mine in Nightcaps, Southland saw its operations halted by around 30 environmental activists this morning.
Extinction Rebellion spokesman Erik Kennedy said the group was blocking the site because the country needed a change of direction.
Protesters had supplies for several days, spokesman Kennedy said.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers were at the scene monitoring the situation.
Most of the coal mined at Takitimu was used by Fonterra to dehydrate milk for export to the Clandeboye plant.
Bathurst Resources, which owns the mine, is planning an expansion into a nearby forest block owned by Southland District Council.
The government had declared a climate emergency in 2020 but had not yet committed to shutting down coal mines or giving coal workers the opportunity for “good, clean jobs”, spokesman Kennedy said.
Protester Gemma Marnane, whose family has worked in the mining industry at Nightcaps for generations, said it was time to appreciate coal as part of New Zealand’s history and not the past.
“We are scared for the future and we don’t know what it looks like, but together we can build a new positive vision,” Marnane said.
Greenpeace spokesman Adam Currie said emissions from coal mined at the Takitimu Coal Mine were equivalent to emissions from 110 million cars, nearly three times the entire car fleet of New Zealand. .
A judicial review of Southland District Council’s decision to grant permission for the expansion is being sought by Forest and Bird and will be heard on July 18.
They are asking for the review on the grounds that the council failed to consider climate change in its decision to grant exploratory access to its forest block, Currie said.
Police at the scene were blocking exits and entrances, including to the media, Currie said.