Krey vs Rio Tinto

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Krey vs Rio Tinto

John Krey, aged 73, moved to the village of Bulga in New South Wales. He thought his retirement would be quiet. He did not think that he would have another full-time job: fighting Rio Tinto, the very big mining company. For the last four years, Krey, with others from the BMPA (Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association) has worked to stop the expansion of the Warkworth open coal mine. The plans were to expand it to 2.6 kilometres away from Bulga.

‘It’s a very big fight. They are very powerful, and we are so small. But we really want to win’ says Krey, who used to work as a quantity surveyor. ‘In the past, other open-cut mines in our area have destroyed villages.’

In April 2013, the BMPA won a legal challenge against an expansion of the mine that had been approved earlier. The judge said that the project would have a very negative effect on biological diversity, and negative social effects and noise and dust pollution. But soon after, the New South Wales government changed the laws, and made economic benefits more important. Rio Tinto applied for expansion again and the Planning Commission agreed in January 2014.

‘The Planning Department has worked together with Rio Tinto to make sure this project got approval quickly,’ said Steve Phillips. He works with Lock The Gate Alliance, an Australian movement that fights against coal and gas expansion.

The whole world should be worried about the expansion of this mine. Greenpeace says that Australia’s coal exports will make 1,200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution each year by 2025.

The Supreme Court is now considering the case and was expected to decide in March 2014.

And the BMPA has also taken its case to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and is thinking about protests. Activists from other places have said they will help.


(This article has been simplified, so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).