Clive Palmer’s, the owner of Waratah Coal, office was turned into a petting zoo when over two-dozen protestors turned the 380 Queen St, Brisbane address into their version of a nature refuge. The police and local authorities where made aware of the protest before hand, no one – and no animals were arrested.
Waratah Coal Pty Ltd, owned by billionaire Queensland businessman Clive Palmer, had partnered with Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) to develop the “China First Coal Project” in the Galilee Basin.
The protest was organized by Friends of the Earth, whose spokesperson, Eleanor Smith, stated in interviews that it was “crazy in this time of rapid biodiversity loss and climate change that we would put our natural heritage at risk for dirty coal mines, we’re here to tell Clive Palmer and all the other coal bosses that mining Nature Refuges is unacceptable and the people of Queensland won’t allow it”.
An environmental impact assessment began last year, where Palmer touted the benefits of the planned project to the economy as well as the strained power grids of Queensland. It became apparent that with the development of this project, the nearby Bimblebox Nature Refuge would be destroyed if the “China First” coal project goes ahead.
Friends of the Earth have been highly critical of many of the major energy projects in Queensland, saying that projects pass inspection to quickly because of the growing demands of power from the population and industry.
In a statement made in 2009, Palmer stated that the project represented “great support for the people of Queensland. It will create billions of dollars in exports and thousands of jobs for Queenslanders.”
The part owner of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, Paola Cassoni, was not able to attend the protest but released a statement saying that “areas that have been set aside for conservation, often funded by the government, have no protection from mining companies who want to dig them up for the coal that lies beneath the soil.”
The nature preserve represents 8000 hectares of land, with rich coal reserves under it.
Waratah Coal’s Clive Palmer said earlier that the project “will be designed to incorporate the latest clean-coal low emission technologies so that the project is consistent with the Queensland Government’s ‘Smart Energy Policy’,” and that the project stood as testament to the “good working relationship we have established with the Queensland Government and their interest in the strong economic and job creating potential of projects such as ours.”