‘Coal Bank’: Environmental activists vandalise Commonwealth branches across Australia

Environmental activists vandalised dozens of Commonwealth Bank branches to protest its investment in coal projects (Earlwood, NSW, branch pictured)21 Aug 2017 – Environmental activists vandalised dozens of Commonwealth Bank branches to protest its investment in coal projects.

The protesters blacked out letters in the bank’s signs so they read ‘Coal Bank’ as part of an ongoing campaign against the financial giant.

Photos of the vandalised branches appeared on social media on Monday tagged with #coalbank with protesters bragging their handiwork.

CBA is a heavy investor in the coal industry, which is worth more than $56 billion in export value last financial year and supports thousands of Australian jobs (Bondi Junction pictured)They claimed 25 branches were hit including Earlwood, Dulwich Hill, Bondi Junction and Paddington in Sydney, as well as in Adelaide and Newcastle.

CBA is a heavy investor in the coal industry, which is worth more than $56 billion in export value last financial year and supports thousands of Australian jobs.

Environmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediately.

Environmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediatelyEnvironmental groups claimed CBA invested $8.86 billion last year and more than $240 billion since 2008, and want it to end immediately

The pressure is aimed at altering the bank’s upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy.

‘It claims to support action on climate change and keeping warming to below 2 degrees, but at the same time loans billions of dollars to fossil fuel projects that are polluting our world and making global warming worse,’ a petition site wrote.

CBA billboards were also defaced in Sydney, with protesters editing them to spread anti-coal messages instead of financial ones.

CBA billboards were also defaced in Sydney, with protesters editing them to spread anti-coal messages instead of financial ones

One replaced a family in front of their house with the slogan 'find the path to your property dream' with a picture of them in an inflatable raft with 'find your path to higher ground'

One replaced a family in front of their house with the slogan ‘find the path to your property dream’ with a picture of them in an inflatable raft with the words ‘find your path to higher ground’.

Another put a gas mask on a man with the words ‘every tonne of coal is doing you damage’.

 Another put a gas mask on a man with the words 'every tonne of coal is doing you damage'

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank's upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank’s upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

'CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,' a protest site wrote

‘CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,’ a protest site wrote

‘There is obviously growing community concern about the Commonwealth bank’s hypocrisy on fossil fuel finance,’ it said.

The ongoing campaign is aimed at altering the bank's upcoming new climate policy, which protesters hope will move its investment towards renewable energy

‘Despite their stated support for the goals of the Paris agreement, CommBank lent more money to fossil fuels last year than any of the other big four banks.

The vandalism follows demonstrators in July shutting down every CBA branch in Newcastle to protest against the bank’s funding of the controversial Adani mine.

Dozens chanted anti-Adani slogans while forcing the bank to close their 11 locations for the day.

'CommBank has the power to help protect the Great Barrier Reef for our kids and grandkids by not investing in destructive coal projects,' a protest site wrote

It continues a bad couple of months for the bank after it was accused of failing to report $77 million in transactions linked to money laundering and terrorism.

Earlier this month it was then revealed criminals allegedly deposited more than $44 million into CBA accounts, which were not reported due to a ‘system error’.

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West Papua: Former workers at U.S.-owned mine injured in clash with police

19 Aug 2017 – Hundreds of former workers of Freeport Indonesia clashed with security forces near the company’s mines in the eastern province of Papua on Saturday and three workers were injured, company and union officials said.

The Indonesian unit of U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoran Inc. has been embroiled in a labor dispute since May, when around 5,000 workers went on strike to protest against mass layoffs.

Following export restrictions related to a permit dispute, Freeport furloughed some 3,000 workers in Indonesia earlier this year, which prompted a strike and high levels of absenteeism.

Freeport later deemed that approximately 3,000 full-time and 1,000 contract employees who were absent had “voluntarily resigned”.

Police on Saturday fired warning shots in the air to disperse the crowd of ex-workers who were demanding their jobs back, blocking roads and setting trucks on fire.

Union official Tri Puspital said police then fired into the crowd, injuring three people. Papua’s police chief Boy Rafli Amar declined to comment.

A spokesman for the company said the protests have not had an impact on operations, although employee access to worksites was being affected.

“Some of our employee convoys have been canceled and we will not be scheduling further convoys until the situation is conducive again. We have urged our workers to avoid this area until further notice,” said Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama.

Narrabri: Traditional custodians lock-on at CSG wastewater plant

Gamilaraay custodians Paul Spearim and Nathan Leslie lock on to Santos equipment at its Narrabri wastewater treatment plant. Photo Iris Ray Nunn23 Dec – While people in the northern rivers are still celebrating the region’s new gasfield free status, two Gamilaraay traditional custodians from Moree are battling CSG company Santos using the same techniques that helped win the battle here.

The pair have entered Santos’ property about 25km south of Narrabri and halted construction at the Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment plant by locking themselves with a metal pipe to excavating equipment.

Fifteen supporters risked arrest to accompany the men onto the Santos’ property, while another 15 people demonstrated their support from outside the fence.

There has been a recent resurgence in protest activity against Santos’ works in the Pilliga forest near Narrabri as the company begins construction at Leewood.

The large-scale wastewater treatment plant is regarded as as a significant milestone in the development of the coal seam gas industry in NSW, and is the subject of a pending court case that will question the legality of its approval.

Fifty-four-year-old Paul Spearim, a respected Gamilaraay cultural authority, said in local language ‘Our ancestors are always watching (Ngiyaningu maran yaliwunga ngarra-li).’

‘We want Santos to get out of our sacred lands and protect our gali (water),’ he added.

His lock-on partner Nathan Leslie, a 32 year-old Gamilaraay man, said he saw it has his responsibility to stop the project on his ancestral land.

‘We’re halting construction at Santos’ Leewood coal seam gas wastewater treatment facility in the Pilliga as this operation is a major step forward for the risky CSG industry in NSW and as a Gamilaraay man it is my responsibility to oppose this threat to country.’

‘This Leewood facility will result in 500 million tonnes of toxic waste after just five years of exploration activity.

‘This toxic industry threatens our water, our country and our culture, and Gamiliaraay people say “no” to Santos’ coal seam gas,’ Mr Leslie said.

Pilliga: North coasters join CSG protest as women lock on the gates

pilliga2

21 Dec – Anti-CSG campaigners from the northern rivers have joined an escalated protest against coal-seam gas mining in the Pilliga Forest at which two Coonabarabran women locked themselves by their necks to the gates of two sites near Narrabri owned by miner, Santos, at the weekend.

Scores of supporters at each site have interrupted construction at the Leewood wastewater treatment plant of Santos’ Narrabri CSG project and prevented movements in and out of the operations centre containing company equipment.

And, according to Ocean Shores anti-CSG campaigner Iris Ray Nunn, who is at the Pilliga, local Aborigines have also locked onto mining vehicles owned by Santos.

Ms Ray Nunn told Echonetdaily the action by the Gamilaraay people ‘on their sacred land’ was ‘historical’.

‘Pilliga is a recharge zone for the GAT, and the Liverpool Plains is the major food bowl for NSW that the Pilliga supports,’ she said.

She said that after the Bentley ’success’, she and other north coast locals ‘became active in protecting the forest from mining rape’.

Continue reading “Pilliga: North coasters join CSG protest as women lock on the gates”

Indonesia: Police Shoot Locals During Anti-Mining Riot in East Java

25 Nov – Anti-mining protestors have been hospitalized in Sumberagung Village, Banyuwangi in East Java after police opened fire on a riot protesting the presence of Bumi Sukesindo mining operations in the area.

Rioting began Wednesday afternoon after a meeting between locals and Bumi Sukesindo, the Banyuwangi District Sector Office and representatives of the local government at a hotel. After a brief stalemate rioting resumed around 8:00 p.m. until the early hours of Thursday morning.

“We’ve had enough. We just want the gold mining company closed,” RD, a local who refused to give his name, told tempo.co on Thursday morning. RD did not clarify what has prompted the change of heart among the community to the company which has been operating in the area since 2007.

“It was like a war,” Achmad, a local, said on Thursday.

Hundreds of Banyuwangi police officers were deployed to calm the rioting. Officers opened fire on the protestors after part of the crowd began setting houses alight and destroying motorcycles owned by Bumi Sukesindo.

Locals reported five people were injured by police fire, although police maintain only two were harmed.

“From what the officers have told me, there are only two locals [hurt by the shots], but I am still checking the real situation at the scene,” Adj. Sr. Comr. Bastoni Purnama said.

“There were only 400 officers deployed in the riots, completely outnumbered by the mass — thousands of them,” he said.

He also claimed that police “had no choice” but to use guns as the company’s assets, due to Bumi Sukesindo’s status as a legal mining company, are considered local assets and must be protected.

All injured protestors, including three allegedly assaulted by police, are receiving medical treatment

PNG: Deadly clashes between locals & the world’s biggest gold mining company

Papua New Guinea Mine Watch, 8 December: Violent clashes have once again erupted between local people, police and company security guards at the giant Porgera gold and silver mine in Papua New Guinea’s highlands, operated and largely owned by the Canadian corporation Barrick Gold – the world’s biggest gold mining company.

Green Left Weekly has been informed by a Porgera-based human rights group called the Akali Tange Association that major riots broke out following the December 2 fatal shooting of four local people by company security guards and members of the notorious PNG Police Mobile Task Force. One security guard was also killed.

On December 3 local people massed in their thousands around Porgera station, forced the mine to curtail its operations and clashed with paramilitary police.

One more local was reported to have been shot dead in the afternoon hours of that day when the angry crowd marched towards Paiam town.

“According to eyewitnesses the victim received bullet wounds on the head. The shooting occurred at Pogema bridge.

“Police blocked marching crowd from advancing towards Paiam when the confrontation triggered of shooting. Soon after, the raging mobs returned towards Porgera in rampage and anything on their way was destroyed. Continue reading “PNG: Deadly clashes between locals & the world’s biggest gold mining company”

Kyrgyzstan: crowd attacks Australian gold miner’s office

18 October: A crowd of about 200 people on Friday attacked the local office of Z-Explorer, an Australian company developing a gold field in southern Kyrgyzstan, in what appeared to be another violent conflict over the privatisation of the country’s resources.

A subsidiary of Australian-listed Manas Resources, Z-Explorer discovered the Shambesai deposit in 2008 and in 2012 it received a licence to develop the field, which holds estimated gold reserves of 8.8 tonnes. A bulldozer on its way to the deposit on Friday was met by an angry crowd, Jyldyz Akmatova, public affairs officer for Z-Explorer, said from the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek. Continue reading “Kyrgyzstan: crowd attacks Australian gold miner’s office”