Bathurst shares slump after appeal news

MICHAEL BERRY
Last updated 15:34 12/04/2013

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Bathurst Resources' share price has slumped 15 per cent on news that Forest & Bird has put another appeal hurdle between the company and its proposed Denniston Plateau mine.

Forest & Bird has appealed against part of an Environment Court ruling to provisionally approve an opencast coalmine on the West Coast's Denniston Plateau.

Listed coalminer Bathurst Resources was given interim approval for its 5.8 million-tonne Escarpment Mine Project two weeks ago, subject to an adequate rewording of resource consent conditions.

The court had earlier released a preliminary ruling on whether the cumulative impact of other potential mines should be weighed when determining the environmental impact of the 190-hectare Escarpment mine near Westport.

Forest & Bird has appealed that ruling on a legal point.

Specifically, the argument was whether the licensed, but undeveloped, Sullivan opencast mine near the Escarpment site should be taken into account when approving Bathurst's mine.

The two environmental groups contesting Escarpment, Forest & Bird and the West Coast Environment Network, believed the potential environmental effects of the Sullivan mine would add to the effects of Escarpment and should be considered part of the plateau's "existing environment".

They believed the site could be mined in a limited capacity without needing any further consents, but Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook had said that was "a rather strained submission".

Bathurst told the NZX that it will seek a hearing date for the appeal as soon as possible.

The company's shareprice fell 5 cents after the announcement, trading at 27c.

Yesterday, Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan told investors an appeal of the full Environment Court decision would delay it getting into production by up to six months.

It had aimed to ship its first export coal before the year was out, but it was unclear how the smaller appeal would affect that time frame.

Whether Forest & Bird would appeal against the existing environment issue had not been raised by Bohannan.

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