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Anti-coal activists told to end campaign against Traditional Owners for the Carmichael mine

29 August 2023

Anti-coal activists told to end campaign against Traditional Owners for the Carmichael mine

Bravus Mining and Resources has called on radical left-wing activist group Friends of the Earth to end its shameful campaign to silence the voices of First Nations people who support responsible mining.

Friends of the Earth is a global activist network built on socialist principles with stated aims that include dismantling capitalism and destroying the patriarchy.

The organisation is a registered charity in Australia.

A Bravus Mining and Resources spokesperson said Friends of the Earth had spent two years organising and marketing an unlawful protest camp on the Carmichael Mining Lease near Clermont in central Queensland against the wishes of the majority of Traditional Owners of the area, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, who voted 294 to 1 in favour of the mine.

“The unlawful protest camp on our mining lease is a dishonest tactic used by global anti-fossil activist groups like Friends of the Earth and Frontline Action on Coal in their mission to shut down Australia’s export coal industry,” the spokesperson said.

“We call on Friends of the Earth to listen to and respect the voices of the majority of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners and to stop actively promoting and organising activities that undermine First Nations peoples’ right to self-determination.

“Friends of the Earth are running a social media campaign to publicise the two-year anniversary of the protest camp and are acting as the media contact for the camp.

“The activists’ claim that the camp is for cultural purposes is false, it is simply a front for anti-coal activism, as is evidenced by the fact that key members of Frontline Action on Coal, the group best known for dangerously locking themselves onto train tracks and coal wagons and blocking roads, are driving a truck up from Mullumbimby in NSW to attend the anniversary.

“A collection of photographs shared by the activists to promote the camp anniversary features anti-fossil fuel activists like Ben Pennings, an organiser of the failed StopAdani movement who is facing civil legal action bought by our company that seeks to limit the campaign of alleged harassment and intimidation he orchestrated against our business.

“These anti-fossil fuel activist groups use Mr Coedie McAvoy, a frequent visitor to the protest camp, to marginalise and silence the voices of the majority of Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners, who overwhelmingly support the mine and are working with us under legally binding agreements that protect their rights and respect their cultural heritage.

“Mr McAvoy has made disturbing threats of violence to Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners who sit on the mine’s Cultural Heritage Committee, and he is before the courts for the alleged assault of two mine workers, one of whom is Indigenous, on our Mining Lease earlier this year.

“The unauthorised anti-coal protest camp from which Mr McAvoy made these threats and carried out the alleged assault is unlawful and unsafe. It should not be on our Mining Lease and should be moved.”

Wangan and Jagalingou Elder and Applicant Group Committee Member Patrick Malone also called for anti-coal activist groups to respect the wishes of the majority of Traditional Owners.

“People need to respect there was an authorisation meeting in 2016 about whether or not to enter into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani and the vote said that yes, we should, and that vote was 294 to 1 in favour of the agreement,” Mr Malone said.

“That was, and remains, the position of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners.

“The ILUA has ensured we can protect the environment and our cultural heritage on the mine site, and it has given us employment and business opportunities.

“So there's a lot of support for the mine and what's happening there with Bravus and I’m confident we are working with the support of the majority of our people.”


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Friends of the Earth

  • Aims and objectives include:
    • Work for economic justice and dismantling capitalism,
    • Work for gender justice and dismantling the patriarchy.
  • Evidence of involvement in two-year anniversary of the unlawful protest camp, referred to by them as Waddananggu:


Mr McAvoy’s death threats to W&J Traditional Owners and his alleged assault of two mine workers

  • In February 2023, Mr McAvoy made public threats to Bravus Mining and Resources’ Indigenous workforce via his social media channels, stating:

“If you think you can come into my backyard with a stupid ar** Adani security, you are sorely mistaken.” “If I have to lay punishment on every single one of those people who come out here and they don’t come through my ceremony, then I will lay that punishment on them myself.”

“If you think I am playing, come here because I am prepared to die for my country are you prepared to die for your fu***** cultural heritage job?”

“If you think your fu***** law fu***** works and you are going to back the white man, come in, come in, I dare you cause I tell you what, you won’t be f***** walking out of here and the police will be standing out the front and I will say to them have the f****** ambulance ready. I’m going to tell the f****** police before they even get here it’s your duty of care to make sure nobody gets hurt and I’m telling you if these people come here they will get hurt.”

  • Bravus Mining and Resources notified Queensland Police of these threats on 10 February 2023.
  • On 27 February 2023, it is alleged Mr McAvoy and an accomplice intercepted a Bravus Mining and Resources vehicle on the Mining Lease by pulling in front of it and forcing it to stop. Mr McAvoy then opened the door of the Bravus Mining and Resources vehicle and attempted to drag an Indigenous environmental ranger from the vehicle under the threat of subjecting the worker to Mr McAvoy’s “tribal law.” In a video of the incident the frightened worker is heard telling Mr McAvoy “I just want to do my job” as Mr McAvoy stands near him.

The vision of the alleged assault and Mr McAvoy’s public threats via his social media channels is available here:

The link to the original livestream in which the threats were made: Day 534 Addressing the Issue. #Waddananggu | By Gurridyula Gaba Wunggu | Facebook

Free Prior and Informed Consent and Cultural Heritage at the Carmichael mine

  • Bravus has been working with the Traditional Owners of the Carmichael Project area, including the Wangan & Jagalingou people, since 2010.
  • In 2016 the W&J people voted 294 to 1 in favour of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Carmichael Project (W&J ILUA).
  • The W&J ILUA was signed by the Queensland Government, the W&J People and Adani Mining, was certified by QSNTS and on 8 December 2017 it was registered with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT).
  • In April 2017, Delia Kemppi, Lester Barnard, Lyndell Turbane, Adrian Burragubba (Coedie McAvoy’s father) and Linda Bobongi filed an Application in the Federal Court of Australia claiming that the certification of the W&J ILUA was void and of no effect and a declaration that the Registrar of the NNTT lacked jurisdiction to register the W&J ILUA. (Proceeding QUD194/17 against Adani, QSNTS, the State of Queensland and the NNTT (Kemppi Proceeding)).
  • In August 2018 the Federal Court handed down a decision in that case upholding the ILUA and found the claims made by Delia Kemppi, Lester Barnard, Lyndell Turbane, Adrian Burragubba and Linda Bobongi to be “without merit”.
  • Delia Kemppi, Lester Barnard, Lyndell Turbane, Adrian Burragubba and Linda Bobongi appealed the Federal Court’s decision.
  • This Kemppi Appeal was heard in May 2019 before the Full Court of the Federal Court.
  • On 12 July 2019 the Federal Court entirely dismissed the Kemppi appeal and awarded costs in Bravus’ favour.

About the Carmichael mine

  • The Carmichael mine is producing high quality coal for export to nations around the world that want to lift their people out of energy poverty.
  • The mine continues to safely and efficiently ramp up to a consistent rate of production which is in the order of 10 million tonnes per annum.
  • Townsville and Rockhampton remain the primary employment hubs for the Carmichael mine and we continue to recruit workers who can drive to site from the Isaac Region.
  • More than 2,600 people were employed and more than A$1 billion paid to regional Queensland contractors and businesses since construction began on the Carmichael project in 2019.
  • Although the primary construction phase is finished, Carmichael still has more than 750 people on site at any time while another third are on days off.
  • Carmichael coal is sold into the international seaborne export market and its ultimate destination depends on market demand.