92-year-old digger arrested in protest

A 92-year-old war veteran has been arrested for taking part in a NSW coal mine blockade on Monday. (AAP)

A 92-year-old war veteran has been arrested at a mine site while a 14-year-old was given a warning by police on Monday.

He fought for Australia in World War II.

And now legally blind, 92-year-old Bill Ryan has vowed to keep fighting for the environment despite being arrested and fined $350 for taking part in a NSW coal mine blockade.

Kokoda Track veteran Mr Ryan was led away by police as dozens of protesters chained themselves to machinery at Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek mine on Monday, halting work for much of the day.

Protesters oppose clearing part of the Leard State Forest to make way for the new $767 million mine, near Boggabri in the state's north-west.

Mr Ryan, who lives in Sydney, says he won't contest the fine and will pay the money out of his own pocket.

He was pictured sitting next to machinery at the mine, with a protest banner above his head.

"I'll continue to protest for as long as I can walk," he told AAP.

"After that, they'll have to push me along in a wheelchair."

The former soldier said it was the fourth time he's taken part in a blockade at the Maules Creek mine.

He claims the burning of the coal from the mine will contribute to climate change.

"I think it's in the interest of my grandchildren and great grandchildren; we've got to take a stand on this issue," he added.

Greenpeace said more than 150 people took part in Monday's protest.

Police arrested 60 people, including an 84-year-old man, for trespassing and entering an enclosed area.

A 14-year-old girl, believed to be the youngest present, was given a warning by officers.

"It was a non-violent protest - we arrived early and just basically sat on the machines," said Greenpeace spokesman Julie Macken said.

Whitehaven Coal has described continuing protests against the Maules Creek mine as "a nuisance" but said it would not be deterred from continuing the project.

"This project has been extensively assessed and received all state and federal legal approvals," NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said in a statement.

"Construction is proceeding well and the project will be completed, regardless of the actions of the activists who are unnecessarily putting themselves and others at risk."

By 6pm (AEDT) about 70 protesters had been arrested and three cut free from earth moving equipment they had chained themselves to, a spokeswoman for the protesters told AAP.

"Some people used "D" bike locks around their necks and there was a girl who had chained herself with a padlock onto the machine," she said.

"There's a pretty heavy police presence so everyone was processed on site because of the large numbers of people."

Comment is being sought from Whitehaven.

Source AAP

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