'Secret' coal mining plans on the West Coast alarm Forest & Bird

Highly sensitive areas have been proposed for coal mining, Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague says.
ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ

Highly sensitive areas have been proposed for coal mining, Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague says.

A secret coal mining plan will carve up "unique and outstanding landscapes", Forest & Bird says.

The affected areas included crucially important biodiversity hotspots in the South Island's Buller Plateau, near Westport, the organisation said on Monday.

The plans were developed for multiple ministers to identify areas for coal mining and areas for protection, Forest & Bird chief executive Kevin Hague said.

An open cast mine on Denniston Plateau.
FAIRFAX NZ

An open cast mine on Denniston Plateau.

"The problem is, they're planning to take the highest value conservation land for coal mining."

READ MORE:
Coal mine proposed for West Coast reserve land challenged in court
Two historic West Coast coal mines to reopen
* ​Bathurst Resources and Talley's buy three solid energy mines

An area known as Whareatea West, on the Denniston Plateau, was proposed for open cast coal mining, he said.

"This is public conservation land, and the most ecologically valuable area on the plateau – without Whareatea West the integrity of the whole plateau is lost."

The "spectacular" Deep Creek area was proposed for protection from open cast mining, but not necessarily from underground mining.

The plans were developed for the Ministers of Conservation, Energy and Resources, and Economic Development, he said.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said it was an "ongoing matter that ministers continue to discuss".

Ad Feedback

"It is a difficult issue as Buller Plateau has significant economic value but we also understand the need to balance that with the conservation issues."

Buller Mayor Garry Howard said discussions had been ongoing and they had been "anxious to get some agreement for a number of years". 

The plans would set conditions which would allow companies to evaluate if they wanted to go ahead with mining projects or not, as they could work out how much environmental conditions would cost up front.

There was a place for coal mining but it was better to have in places where it was subject to environmental conditions, Howard said. 

"I would sooner be environmentally responsible and have it mined under conditions, than say 'not in my backyard' and have it mined overseas somewhere where it's not under conditions."

Howard said while mining created economic benefits, the Buller District Council was "very keen to pursue further diversification from any single industry".

"A lot of people talk about tourism as being the saviour for the West Coast. It's very good to be part of the mix, but it's not the saviour."

Coal mining has long been a staple industry on the West Coast, although the amount of mining has fluctuated with the price of coal. 

Up to five years ago, the Stockton Mine north of Westport employed about 1000 people, which has since dropped to about 250 following several lay-offs. 

In October last year, Phoenix Coal, a joint venture between Bathurst Resources and Talley's Group, purchased the Stockton Mine when it was sold following Solid Energy's collapse. 

Bathurst is also working on the Buller Project, which aims to eventually export just under 1 million tonnes of coal each year from several sites in the region, including the Escarpment Project and Cascade mine on the Denniston Plateau. 

 - Stuff

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Shooting death: not guilty

Bodi McKee has been found not guilty of  murdering Leslie Putt.

Jurors had to decide if shooting could be justified as self-defence in south Auckland murder trial.

Bluer than blue on Shore

The national elections take place on September 23, with bellwether polls on the North Shore indicating the likely outcome.

All voting booths on Auckland's North Shore favoured the National Party in the last 2014 election.

Two cycleways connect

A section between Surey Cres and Firth St is being redeveloped to make way for new cycleways.

Work has started to join two central Auckland cycleways.

A tilt at rapid rail

The proposal would invest $400 million in 17 tilt trains during stage two, which can travel at 160kmh.

A three-stage, $1.45 billion proposal could connect Auckland and Hamilton at 160kmh.

Wellington

Lessons from our major reno stuff nation

The new kitchen benches are made of natural concrete.

A Wellington couple chose renovation over building, and it worked a treat.

Window blown out video

Around 5am, MetService meteorologist Stephen Glassey said a wind gust of 126kmh was recorded at Mt Kaukau in Wellington ...

Just when we thought it was over, winter is once again rearing its head in Wellington.

Accused acquitted in biting case

An Indian businessman made a $10,000 promise to return to New Zealand for his trial, but never did. He's unlikely to get ...

Judge doubts sex worker's evidence and finds absent Inderjyot Singh not guilty.

Police storm Hutt house  video

Armed offenders squad members used the weapons before entering the property off Kings Crescent, near Hutt Hospital.

Watch the moment police storm a hostage situation in Lower Hutt with stun grenades.

Canterbury

Serial pub robber jailed

Douglas Roake has been jailed by the Christchurch District Court for six pub robberies around Canterbury and shooting ...

Man who worked as security guard at Richie McCaw's wedding jailed for over 13 years after shooting two women and robbing six pubs.

Chairman steps down

David Bedford, chairman of Environment Canterbury, has stepped down for three months.

Environment Canterbury chairman David Bedford has stepped down from his role due to health issues.

Free parking in Christchurch?

An artist's impression of the Lichfield St car parking building, due for completion in October.

Idea to offer one hour of free parking at all Christchurch City Council-owned off-street car parks will go before councillors.

Knife-wielding robber found

Police were called to the Lincoln Rd dairy after a robbery about 10am on Thursday.

A man has been arrested shortly after allegedly robbing a dairy at knifepoint.

Waikato

New leads in cold case

Chris Bush was shot dead in 1987 at the Red Fox Tavern.

New information leads police probing 1987 murder of Chris Bush to "persons of interest".

Driver rams cop car

Ali Taipari, 26, was sentenced in the Hamilton District Court on Wednesday.

It was third time unlucky for Ali Taipari in his attempts to stay one step ahead of the police.

Nationwide hunt for gunman video

Police are looking to locate Rollie James Heke, 36. He is believed to be armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

The search for "unpredictable" Rollie James Heke has been elevated to a national level.

Ghost school to be bulldozed

The Ministry of Education says some of the buildings had asbestos.

Buildings at the Hamilton school have sat vacant for 13 years.

Taranaki

From bombings to pancakes

22092016 SUPPLIED. Marcel's Pancakes' Marcel Naenen, left, Rafael Porto Carrero and Ingrid Vercammen.

A former freelance reporter tells of terror overseas and how he's come to the sweet life in New Zealand.

Arts Festival begins

160817 News Photo. SIMON O'CONNOR/STUFF
Taranaki Arts Festival Story in the Crystal Palace.
L-R Cleo Wood and Suzanne ...

It really does sound like one of the best jobs...where we do we sign up?

Sports clubs targeted by thieves

Thieves stole two outboard motors from Waitara's Clifton Rowing Club.

Police are seeking information about sports club burglaries.

Heavy rain warning

Get the wet weather gear ready, a weather warning has been issued for Mt Taranaki.

Up to 90mm of rain could fall on the mountain today.

Manawatu

Weaving cultural ties

Tanemahuta Gray in his Feilding home.

Tanemahuta Gray is a choreographer and director who now calls Feilding home.

Pei prison assault

Faraniko Pei blasted holes in two police stations in frustration at the care his sister was getting in hospital.

The anger of a man who blew holes in police stations with a shotgun boils over in prison.

Police investigate sudden death

Flowers have been placed on the letterbox the property where a 53-year-old woman died suddenly.

A 53-year-old woman was found dead in her home.

The political outsider

Adrienne Pierce is aiming to take Palmerston North for National at the election.

A newbie to the Manawatu political scene has an uphill battle to turn Palmerston North blue for National.

Nelson

Squire gets nod over Kaino video

DUBLIN, IRELAND - NOVEMBER 19: Liam Squire of New Zeaand is tackled  during the international rugby match between ...

Homegrown Tasman star Liam Squire is in the ABs starting lineup for Bledisloe opener.

Mumps spread south

Some people with mumps get a fever and headaches, and can spread the virus by coughing and sneezing. (File photo)

Two cases of mumps have been reported in Nelson after an outbreak in Auckland.

Final credits roll for DVD store

The decline in customers over the last three years was noticeable, says Stoke Video Ezy owner Sean Davis.

When Sean Davis took over Video Ezy in Nelson, there were 60 others. Now there are just 17.

More rain on the way

Pedestrians battle with wind and rain in Nelson's CBD this morning.

Wild weather expected to ease by afternoon ... but more rain is forecast for the weekend.

Marlborough

Your far flung fish and chips video

Witherlea Takeaways owner Sharyn Hiltz says frozen fish is just as good as fresh fish for your Friday night takeaway.

It's Friday night and that means one thing: takeaway time. But under the batter, where does your fish come from?

Skilled staff shun Marlborough video

Simcox Construction general manager Antony Clark says this is the tightest labour market he has seen in Marlborough.

It's almost like people don't like the sun, amazing wine and [fairly] cheap houses.

Mumps spread south

Some people with mumps get a fever and headaches, and can spread the virus by coughing and sneezing. (File photo)

Three young people in Marlborough have contracted the mumps.

Big win for Blenheim

A million-dollar winner, but Powerball not struck.

Blenheim Lotto player strikes it lucky with $1m win.

South Canterbury

Getting in shape a success

Kicksports Timaru founder Scott Tweedie established a  MuayThai gymnasium in 2014 with two members. Membership has since ...

Scott Tweedie left fulltime work to pursue his dream, and he's sharing that dream with others.

Hospital rebuild plan

South Canterbury District Health Board chief executive Nigel Trainor said it had decided to shift a planned ...

Proposal to redevelop Timaru Hospital moves up a gear with plans afoot to rebuild.

Rape charge dismissed

Ashburton man Angus Mackenzie had a charge of rape dismissed at the Timaru District Court due to a lack of evidence to ...

Ashburton man on trial in Timaru for rape has charge against him dismissed.

Walking for hope

Timaru woman Michelle Cogger has organised a hope walk to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Timaru mother organises community Hope Walk to create awareness around suicide.

Southland

Fish on the roof video

The video showed fish on racks on the shop's roof.

Invercargill fish and chip shop filmed with fish laid out on the roof of the store faces investigation, but owners claim it wasn't for sale.

Police officer under investigation

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham confirmed an investigation was under way.

Southland police constable allegedly sent inappropriate text messages to a woman who had sought out police assistance.

Invercargill reinvents itself as... 

The new "Invercargill" logo can be used by businesses for marketing.

Mayor Tim Shadbolt says new brand "isn't as pretentious" as previous efforts.

Cow neglect bad for 'Team NZ'

One of the animals neglected in the Castlerock Dairies in Southland.

Ministry for Primary Industries says animal welfare cases like recent Castlerock Dairies cow neglect court case are bad for "Team NZ".

Ad Feedback