Activists have secured themselves to railway tracks and train carriages in a bid to stop what they believed was the first shipment of coal from a controversial north Queensland mine.
But Bravus Mining and Resources - formerly Adani Australia - says the Carmichael mine project is still "on track" despite the protests, revealing it has been transporting coal from the site for weeks.
Police initially removed protesters Tammy Omodei and Andy Paine after they used steel pipes to attach themselves to a railway line about 30km outside Bowen about 6am on Tuesday.
Officers were also called out to nearby Armuna where mother and daughter duo Juliet and Isla Lamont were removed after locking themselves to a carriage on a Bravus coal train bound for Abbot Point port, north of Bowen.
Activist group Frontline Action on Coal said two more protesters - Tom Ryan and Georgie Toner - then climbed onto the train and into a coal carriage, requiring police to use a cherry picker to remove them about 3.30pm.
Protesters have dogged the Carmichael mine project for years and they aimed to again disrupt plans after it was reported Bravus was preparing to export coal from Abbot Point port.
However, Bravus said it had already been transporting coal from the mine for some time as part of pre-export testing.
"Testing and commissioning of the trains has been underway for several weeks which has included transporting coal," a Bravus spokesperson said.
"As is the usual process for new pieces of equipment and infrastructure, this is expected to take a period of time as the new machines and infrastructure are tested.
"The Carmichael mine is on track to export coal in 2021."
Bravus said the protesters were putting themselves and others in danger if they continued to target the rail line.
"They seem to be oblivious to the danger they are placing themselves in," the spokesperson said.
"What these protesters did this morning was incredibly selfish. They could have been killed or seriously injured.
"Everyone has the right to express their opinion, provided they are doing so in a way that is legal, safe and does not put themselves, our employees or community members in harm's way.
"Today's actions by these anti-coal activists were not legal or safe for themselves or anyone around them."
Frontline Action on Coal's Amy Booth said the group would not stop protesting.
"As Adani starts to transport and export the first coal from its Carmichael mine we will be there to stop it and hold Adani accountable for their reckless crimes against our climate," she said.
Carmichael mine - located in the Galilee Basin about 400km inland from Mackay - has been at the centre of numerous environmental protests and campaigns in the decade since it was first proposed.
The project - which began construction in 2019 - aims to offload 10 million tonnes of coal a year.
Australian Associated Press