Thousands of global visitors attending a mining conference in Melbourne could come face-to-face with swarms of environmental protesters.

The three-day International Mining and Resources Conference starts on Tuesday and has attracted some unwanted attention.

Activists linked to 11 different groups hope to shut down the conference, but police plan to thwart their disruptions, with more than 300 frontline officers assigned to the city’s Convention Centre.

“It’s never been our intention to disrupt the city. We want to shut down the conference using blockading tactics,” protester Emma Black said.

“Our enemy are not motorists or the police, our enemies are the corporate mining executives.”

But conference organisers say the demonstrators’ action is misdirected.

“There is a misconception that as an industry mining does not operate with sustainable principles in mind,” a statement from conference organisers said.


“At the conference last year we heard from many mining companies who subscribe to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.”

The statement added that mining is vital for the production of electricity, solar panels, electric car batteries, pacemakers and medical apparatus, and public transport.

More than 7000 delegates from more than 100 countries will attend the conference.

“This year (we) will examine the increase in the importance of a social licence to operate, how technology is improving mine safety and sustainability, the importance of battery minerals – key to the emerging electric car market – and the growing importance of ethical investments for resource companies,” the conference statement reads.