STANDING THEIR GROUND: Bulga residents say their protest will continue, despite the arrest of two protesters on Monday.
TWO Hunter Indigenous elders were charged by police after protests outside Rio Tinto’s Mount Thorley Warkworth mine on Monday.
CHARGED: Pat Hansson and Kevin Taggart were arrested on Monday for not following a police directive to leave a Putty Road protest site.
Wonnarua elders Kevin Taggart and Pat Hansson were arrested and charged with not following a police directive after refusing to leave a protest site where Bulga residents were attempting to stop mine blasting.They have been granted conditional bail to appear in Singleton Local Court in September.
The protests follow the NSW government’s controversial mine approval after a Planning Assessment Commission found the benefits of the mine expansion outweighed the costs. This followed two successful court appeals of earlier mine expansion approvals, after judges found the social and environmental costs of expansion were too great.
Bulga residents have vowed to continue protesting despite police responding to a complaint by the mine, the two arrests, and a process they have slammed as “inherently unjust”.
Mr Taggart was released on bail conditions, including that he not return to the protest site.
He said the environmental impacts of the mine expansion, closure of Wallaby Scrub Road and destruction of Aboriginal heritage sites were “really important to me because they’re devastating”.