|MEDIA RELEASE: 28 peaceful protesters arrested after authorisation to occupy mine site
Contact: more info contact:
Natalie Lowrey, National Liaison Officer, Friends of the Earth Australia
Arrested protesters – +61 432 388 665
28 protesters were arrested this morning at Barrick Gold’s mine operation in Lake Cowal, central western New South Wales. They were authorised to enter the mine site by Wiradjuri Tradtional Owners of Lake Cowal and its surrounds.
Image: Activist, Amanda Sekold was one of 28 peaceful protesters arrested at Barrick Gold’s mine in Lake Cowal. Photo: Fiona Lee
Entering the site at dawn the protesters climbed the bund walls into the open cut pit whilst Wiradjuri Traditional Owners performed a smoking ceremony and 15 other protesters blockaded the front gates of the mine. Over 50 workers waited patiently to get into the mine site for their shift change.
“The supporters were authorised by us, the Traditional Owners,” said Neville Chappy Williams, Traditional Owner, Mooka/Kalara United Families within the Wiradjuri Nation, Lake Cowal, who have been in the courts against the world’s largest gold miner, Barrick Gold, for the past 10 years.
Image: Wiradjuri Traditional Owner, Neville Chappy Williams leads his supporters onto the mine. Photo: Fiona Lee
Lauren Campbell was arrested in the mine site having made the journey from Adelaide to Lake Cowal.
“Before going onto the mine this morning I looked at some recentaerial photos of Barrick Gold’s operation, but it didn’t prepare me for the devastation of what we saw. Walking onto country and standing in the mine was an affirmation of why we are here.”
Image: Protesters enter the open cut pit. Photo: Fiona Lee
“When we were arrested the police kept stressing to us that we didn’t get permission from Barrick Gold, inferring that we did have authority from the Wiradjuri Traditonal Owners of the Lake Cowal area.” said arrestee, Amanda Seckold from Melbourne.
Protesters overheard security telling the police that the mine would shut down in the next year or so because Wiradjuri and their supporters would win against Barrick Gold.
Image: At dawn 15 protesters blockade the front gates of the mine, over 50 workers wait patiently. Photo: Drew Misko
“Damage to water and water resources is the worst environmental consequences of gold mining. Water systems around mines are contaminated by cyanide, other process chemicals, and the acid mine drainage that runs off the exposed rock.”
Image: Protesters peacefully occupy the mine site for 4 hours before getting arrested. Photo: Fiona Lee
All 28 arrested protesters will not plead guilty to trespassing in closed lands within the Barrick Gold mining lease in Lake Cowal.