Family plans 'lock-on’ CSG protest for Pilliga

PROTEST: Mina Hunt is wearing a lock-on device which prevents police from angle grinding her from the truck at Santos at Pilliga, North-West NSW.
PROTEST: Mina Hunt is wearing a lock-on device which prevents police from angle grinding her from the truck at Santos at Pilliga, North-West NSW.

A TWEED Heads mother-of-two is planning a 'family lock-on' with her daughters at the entrance of a coal seam gas mining site at Pilliga, in North-West NSW.

Mina Hunt made headlines last week when, for six hours, she locked herself onto a bus transporting workers to the site where gas company Santos is seeking approval to extend its CSG operations to up to 850 production wells.

Santos is proposing to develop the Narrabri Gas Project on Crown Land at the Great Artesian Basin to supply up to 50% of the state's gas needs.

Ms Hunt is now planning to return to the Pilliga Push campsite, an eight-hour drive away, with her 18 and 23-year-old daughters.

"There comes a time where you realise you have to take a stand so you can look your children in the face and say I did everything I could to stop them from poisoning the water," Ms Hunt said.

"My daughters are preparing for a family lock-on."

It will be only the third protest ever the 54-year-old disability worker has participated in, after previously participating in the Bentley Blockade west of Lismore, where action forced the NSW Government to buy back its exploration licence from Metgasco.


Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW.
Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW. Aswas Photography

Ms Hunt said last week's event had attracted increased monetary and volunteer support from protesters, including other residents from Tweed.

"It's growing into another Bentley," she said.

"The Coonabarabran Residents Against Gas are supporting the protesters and paying for fines."

Declining to detail the exact risks of water contamination at Pilliga or confirming if an increase in production wells would cause environmental damage, Santos said the protests were "illegal".


Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW.
Santos coal seam gas mining operation at Pilliga, North West NSW. Aswas Photography

"While Santos respects the right of people to partake in peaceful protests, these protests are illegal and largely targeting our plans to treat the water to a very high standard so it can be beneficially reused," a spokesperson said. 

"Santos has all approvals necessary to carry out this work safely."

Topics:  coal seam gas csg editors picks mining protest

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