The International Mining Conference in Melbourne

Mining conference attracts more than its usual share of zombies

Rainforest Action Group IMARCEnvironmental groups and human-rights defenders argued against the increase in global development, particularly against mining in protested forests and on Indigenous land. The Melbourne Rainforest Action Group (MRAG) was joined by the Latin American Solidarity Network, Mapuche-Aboriginal Struggles for Indigenous Land and FrontLine Against Coal for three actions that took place over the week. Protestors say they were concerned at the ongoing impact of mining especially in the wake of the IPCC report on climate change, with speakers damning the inaction of government and corporations to take the report seriously.

“We are particularly concerned at the global escalation of mining in the headwaters of the Amazon and key forests in Ecuador, where Australian mining companies are taking the lead in the push for mining exploration for copper, gold and rare earth minerals,” a member of the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group says.

“It’s like the Wild West, with BHP, Hancock and SolGold all vying for position. Our contacts in Ecuador have been increasingly worried at the presence of mining exploration teams in protected reserves, where their presence has been impacting on extremely rare and endangered species.”

Protestors blockaded the east entrance at Crown, in front of a barricade of 30 police. The zombies were joined by the Riff Raff Marching Band who belted out variations on popular tunes, including the Cranberries ‘Zombie’. An inflatable earth emblazoned with the words ‘Not for Sale’ was carried on the heads of protestors to various entrances to Crown.

Allan Mogerema, a youth leader from the Paga Hill community in PNG, and star in the recently released film “The Opposition”, said the wholesale land grabs by Australian multinationals in his country had impacted massively on his community, many members of which are now forced to live in camps and on the streets of Port Moresby.

“For decades Papua New Guinea has been on the frontline of extractivism, in particular mining. The impacts of this have include desecration of sacred sites, poisoning of waterways, rape of women by mine security and the wholesale land grabbing of Indigenous lands,” Allan says.