A group of protesters illegally entered the Whitehaven mine site at Maules Creek in NSW earlier this month and cut 187 down-lines attached to explosives, according to the NSW Minerals Council.
The NSW Minerals Council are claiming the incident happened on the night of Wednesday 10 September and that NSW Police are currently investigating the allegations.
After cutting the lines, the protesters then reportedly attempted to fill the blast holes with dirt and rubble.
A statement released by the Council said, “The actions of these industrial saboteurs have put their own lives and the lives of Whitehaven personnel at risk.”
“This reckless and dangerous act of industrial sabotage is a wake up call for the NSW government. Those responsible have directly threatened lives, including their own, by tampering with powerful industrial explosive charges used in mine operations,” NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee said late yesterday.
“Violent and dangerous activities have escalated in recent months. As well as deliberate trespassing and interference with heavy equipment by protesters, a security vehicle has been rammed, gates have been blockaded or destroyed, and now we have had industrial explosives being sabotaged,” he said.
“We have raised safety concerns about the trespassing of protesters with the NSW Government on a number of occasions. I hope we will now see action,” Mr Galilee said.
“Without action from the Government to deter this type of illegal access activity it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt, despite the best efforts of police and emergency services personnel and site workers to ensure safety.”
“People have a right to protest, but it must be within the law. No-one has the right to put others at risk. And when people choose to ignore the law they should be held accountable for their actions.”
“It’s also time for the Greens, Lock the Gate, Greenpeace, and others that have so far condoned illegal protest activity to publicly condemn this latest dangerous and extreme act of sabotage. Any refusal to do so is tacit endorsement of risking the lives of others to make a political point,” he said.