Mining

The Ngara Institute’s annual Activist of the Year award was shared by the Knitting Nannas Against Gas, whose creative and persistent nonviolent strategies have been so important at blockades and protests, and Annie Kia, who developed the hugely successful “neighbour to neighbour” community engagement process for Lock the Gate.

The award was presented on June 30 at Ngara’s annual lecture in Mullumbimby, presented by former Human Rights Commissioner Gillian Triggs.

Buru Energy has admitted in its submission to the Western Australian Fracking Inquiry that testing of flowback fluids from its 2015 fracking operations in the Kimberley showed elevated levels of the chemical contaminants boron and barium and the radionuclide radium-228.

Since it was first mooted in 2010, the Adani Carmichael Coal and Rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has proven controversial. It has faced a series of legal challenges by environment groups and Traditional Owners, as well as campaigns by activists calling on financial institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The starting date has been rescheduled several times as the viability of the project has been called into question and potential finance proves elusive.

It is timely then, at this impasse, that two new books are released documenting the story so far and canvassing possible outcomes.

In April Adani applied to the federal Department of Environment and Energy to expand a dam by 450% and build a pipeline for its Carmichael coalmine, without an assessment under national environment laws.

Protesters outside the NT Labor Party conference

Divisions in the Northern Territory Labor Party were on show on May 12 as the party’s annual conference voted to ban fracking across the territory, weeks after Chief Minister Michael Gunner lifted a moratorium on the practice. The vote was a vindication for the more than 200 protesters who gathered outside. 

Blackmail charges brought against Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) leaders John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped by Victorian prosecutors on May 16 in a major embarrassment for the federal government’s trade union royal commission, police and prosecutors.

The Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 2 overturned the Land Court decision of May 31 last year that recommended rejection of the stage 3 expansion of the New Acland (NAC) coalmine on Queensland's Darling Downs.

On February 14, the Department of Environment and Science refused the application for an amended environmental authority to allow for Stage 3, however the minister deferred a decision pending the outcome of the judicial review.

For more than 20 years, locals on the NSW Central Coast have been fighting a proposed coalmine in the Dooralong and Yarramalong valleys near Wyong.

The area is an important part of the drinking water catchment for more than 300,000 people, and the proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coalmine threatens to take millions of litres of water each year out of the catchment and pollute local waterways.

More than 600 activists rallied here on April 22 to condemn Chief Minister Michael Gunner’s announcement that fracking would go ahead in the NT despite his election promise of a 5-year moratorium.  

The Gunner Labor government was elected in 2016, partly on the promise to hold back on fracking which would open 51% of the NT to the controversial process of mining gas via hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Northern Territory parliament in Darwin on April 18 to protest the Labor government’s decision, announced the day before, to lift the ban on fracking. Another protest is planned for April 22.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced the onshore ban on fracking would be lifted following the tabling of an independent report which concluded that the risks associated with the hydraulic fracturing of gas could be “managed” and “regulated”.

A jury has found gas company Linc Energy guilty of causing serious environmental harm at its trial underground coal gasification (UCG) plant near Chinchilla on Queensland's Darling Downs.

A packed meeting in Bairnsdale in eastern Victoria on March 21 was horrified as the implications of a planned mineral sands mine in the area were revealed.

The Kalbar Resources mine has been in the planning stage for several years and is due to start next year. The site is at Glenaladale, about 20 kilometres from Bairnsdale in grazing country, but only 350 metres from the $200 million a year vegetable growing industry in the Mitchell River Valley.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners of the land on which Adani has approval to build its Carmichael coalmine are concerned that the Queensland government will act to extinguish their native title rights prior to a Federal Court hearing scheduled for March 12–15.

This follows the decision by the Federal Court to not extend an interim injunction, which had been in place since December 18, restraining the Queensland government from extinguishing native title under the terms of the purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).

A brand new World Bank , The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018, offers evidence of how much poorer Africa is becoming thanks to rampant minerals, oil and gas extraction.

Yet World Bank policies and practices remain oriented to enforcing foreign loan repayments and transnational corporate (TNC) profiteering — thus maintaining the looting.

In the first episode of Activist Stories we travel up to Canberra to join activists from around the country protesting against the Adani mega coal mine on the first day of parliament on February 5. We then look back at the campaign, the pressure mounting on Labor to oppose the mine and how you can get involved.

To get involved Stopadani.com Adani’s threat to Australia’s groundwater greenleft.org.au/content/adani-threat-great-artesian-basin

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Twitter: @zebparkes

Blog: zebedeeparkes.com

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Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told the National Press Club in Canberra on January 30 that he had become increasingly sceptical of Adani”s Carmichael coalmine in recent months: “We’re certainly looking at the Adani matter very closely,” he said. “If it doesn’t stack up commercially or if it doesn’t stack up environmentally it will absolutely not receive our support.”

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