Coal mine threatens wine

Residents are organising to stop mining company LD Operations plans to start a new coal mine next to the town of Margaret River in Western Australia.

Margaret River is five hours south of Perth famous for its wineries, surfing spots and outstanding natural beauty.

A public meeting on August 1 with only one day’s notice drew 60 people. It is a sign of strong community opposition. There are plans to hold a demonstration as part of the national Walk Against Warming rallies on August 15.

The coal mine threatens aquifers on which farmers depend. Margaret River resident Brent Watson told Channel 9 News on August 2: “So here we are, you see. We found a place where there’s water. So anybody who wants to mess with the aquifers should do so over our collective dead bodies.”

LD Operations say the mine will create 200 jobs in Margaret River. But opponents argue it threatens tourism and agriculture industries that employ thousands.

The proposed mine is also part of a bigger plan by the Liberal state government to build several new coal-fired power stations in Western Australia.

“The battle has just begun,” Margaret River resident and celebrity chef Ian Parmenter told Channel 9 News, “Game on!”