Five activists have been ordered to pay £10,000 by magistrates in Merthyr Tydfil following a protest at a Welsh coal mine last month.
All five protesters from Earth First! and Reclaim the Power pleaded guilty to aggravated trespass for their part in an action which disrupted work at Ffos-y-fran opencast coal mine on 21st April.
Three of the activists entered the mine in the early hours, locked to an excavator in the middle of the deep pit and stayed there for more than 10 hours before being removed by police.
The other two protesters blocked a private road in the mine complex for eight hours.
They have been sentenced to 18 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay the compensation.
The groups said the action was taken to prevent the local and global impacts of coal mining and to demand closure of the mine.
One of the activists Andrea Brock added: “As local communities continue to suffer and as we are approaching runaway climate change, Miller Argent continues mining at Ffos-y-fran, causing ecological destruction and health impacts under the name of ‘land reclamation’. Ffos-y-fran showcases the failures of environmental regulation in the UK and the court’s decision favours corporate power over public interests.”
Miller Argent told ELN it supplies coal to the steel and other essential industries.
A spokesperson added: “These organisations would otherwise have to import coal as coal is an essential part of their process so by using local Welsh coal these responsible companies are doing their best to minimise their worldwide carbon footprints.
“The protest at Ffos-y-Fran was against coal being supplied to Aberthaw Power station. We explained to the protesters at the time they were misguided. No Welsh coal is currently being supplied to Aberthaw. Miller Argent understands Aberthaw is having to import Russian coal to meet its commitment to the UK government to fulfil its obligations under capacity market contract to keep the lights on.”