Environmental activists shut down coal port

Australian climate change activists yesterday closed down operations at the world's largest coal port after entering its three terminals and attaching themselves to loaders.

The action by climate change group Rising Tide in Newcastle stopped operations at all three terminals operated by Port Waratah Coal Services, which normally run continuously, a company spokesman said.



Asked if all operations at the facility had been halted due to the action, a company spokesman told Reuters: "Yes, that is correct. All operations have temporarily stopped."



Rising Tide said about 50 people in total were involved in the protest, some entering before dawn on Sunday morning, abseiling down machinery and attaching themselves to loaders. Others demonstrated with banners.



Spokeswoman Annika Dean said nine protesters attached themselves to infrastructure, calling it an "emergency" action to highlight climate change, which she blamed for recent fires in Russia and floods in Pakistan.



"We have stopped all operations in the coal port," Dean said.



"These weather events are consistent with the scientific predictions for climate change. We feel like Australia's coal exports are contributing to this problem."



It is the latest in a series of actions at the facility by the locally based group which have had limited success in disrupting commercial operations. Dean said she believed it was the first time the group had managed to halt all operations at the port.



Rising Tide said its protesters had received training from climbers.



New South Wales state police confirmed that protesters had entered the facilities and tied themselves to machinery. A police spokeswoman said an operation including negotiations with the protesters was underway.



Newcastle, just north of Sydney, is the world's largest coal export port and a major earner of foreign exchange for Australia. Port Waratah Coal Services is partly owned by mining giants Xstrata, and Rio Tinto, through its Coal and Allied subsidiary.



A spokesman for Port Waratah Coal Services said it would be several days before losses resulting from the action could be assessed.



Coal is one of Australia's leading exports but the industry is opposed by the country's influential climate change lobby.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor