Greenpeace activists unfurled a 40sqm banner and chained
themselves to machinery at the New Vale mine, near Gore.
Photo by Greenpeace.
Protest action by Greenpeace today blocking access to a
coal mine Fonterra uses to power a dairy factory did not
disrupt production, the company says.
Four Greenpeace activists were arrested this morning after
trying to block access to New Vale lignite mine near Gore, in
Fonterra uses coal from the Solid Energy mine to power its
Edendale dairy factory, between Gore and Invercargill.
At dawn, activists blocked one of the entrances and chained
themselves to some of the excavating machinery.
Police moved in quickly to remove them.
The protest was to draw attention to the type of coal
Fonterra used, which was the "dirtiest" type of fossil fuel,
Fonterra sustainable production general manager John
Hutchings told NZPA the action had caused no problems for the
"It's not having any impact on our milk processing Edendale
site at this stage."
The factory had plenty of coal to keep the machines going, he
The company used a range of energy sources, including the
lignite, Mr Hutchings said.
"We try to get the best mix. Best mix means balancing all
sorts of considerations, including what sources are available
in the location."
When Fonterra used the coal, it generated steam, which then
generated a quarter of its electricity needs.
Fonterra would continue to use the coal, he said.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer said in the coming
year Edendale would burn 179,000 tonnes of lignite, which
contributed to the release of over 250,000 tonnes of carbon
"This is the same as the emissions from more than 87,000 cars
in one year."
Three weeks out from the Copenhagen international climate
talks Fonterra remained the biggest block to New Zealand
doing its bit on climate change, Mr Boxer said.
"The Government needs to bring Fonterra under control."
The activity comes two months after Greenpeace activists
lashed themselves to a Hong Kong freighter, protesting
Fonterra's importation of palm kernel for use as stock feed
because of its role in the destruction of rainforests.
"Fonterra always goes for the cheapest alternative like dirty
lignite coal for energy or unsustainable palm kernel, grown
at the expense of Indonesian rainforests, for animal feed."
Fonterra was putting profit before the climate, Mr Boxer
"Fonterra should take responsibility for reducing greenhouse
"It could start by changing to alternative fuels, stop
imports of palm kernel animal feed and encouraging lower
intensity farming practices to provide a secure base for our
industry, our economy and our environment."