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Extinction Rebellion protesters set up flags and chained themselves to tripods and a car at Bathurst Resources’ Canterbury coal mine at 4.30am on Monday.
A police spokesperson said a “number of protesters” had been arrested after chaining themselves to machinery in the mine pit area.
Environment Canterbury is considering proposals to expand the mine, but the protesters want it shut for good.
The mine produces low sulphur coal, primarily fuelling the local dairy industry.
Activist Julie Thompson said they want to encourage Bathurst to decommission the mine, and for dairy companies to transition away from using coal.
She said the use of coal amid a climate and ecological crisis is unsustainable.