Two arrested after Qld coal mine protest

Activists were arrested after locking themselves to coal loading machinery at Abbot Point coal port.
Activists were arrested after locking themselves to coal loading machinery at Abbot Point coal port.

Two activists have been arrested after locking themselves to coal loading machinery at Abbot Point in a protest against the Carmichael coalmine in central Queensland.

Frontline Action on Coal activists Jeanette Kemp and Rupert Russell locked themselves to the equipment at the port, "effectively stopping the coal conveyor belts from operating", about 7.15am AEST on Thursday.

Queensland police told AAP the pair were taken into custody about 9am.

Ms Kemp says she was protesting against the $2 billion mine being built by Indian-owned Bravus, formerly known as Adani Australia.

"I know a fair bit of that country where the mine is and got to know the vegetation through my work as an ecologist. It's just crazy to me that we're going to dig up this whole area," she said in a statement.

"There are too many mines that are damaging our land and I just don't want to see Queensland go that way."

Mr Russell said he was lucky to be able to protest because he was a retiree and did not have to worry about his job.

Ms Kemp was worried about her job but said her protest was more important than her reputation.

"It just shows people that anyone can do this, just take time off work - it all contributes and makes people stand up and notice," she said.

Earlier, Bravus chief executive David Boshoff said 2000 people were already working on the project, with $1.5 billion on contracts awarded to local businesses.

He said blasting had started at the mine site and work on the coal-handling and processing plant had also begun.

"Now we have reached rock we have begun to use controlled blasts to break it up so the excavators and trucks can move it. This means coal production is one step closer to being a reality," Mr Boshoff said.

Bravus expects the mine's first coal to be produced in 2021.

Australian Associated Press