Anti-lignite campaign on road

ALEX FENSOME
Last updated 14:25 10/10/2012

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Anti-lignite campaigners will take to the roads of Nelson next week to spread awareness of Solid Energy's lignite plans is eastern Southland.

They will visit Nelson on Sunday, Motueka on Monday and Takaka on Tuesday to talk about the concerns they have of the environmental impact of lignite development.

Organiser Tara Forde, from the Renewables Motueka group, said the tour arose out of a meeting with former Green MP Jeanette Fitzsimons in Motueka. "She talked about how the proposed mine would be devastating for New Zealand's carbon emissions . . ."

Ms Forde said some of her family were from Southland.

"I feel personally about it. It's near where my grandparents used to farm, (Wairio). I think my granddad wishes it could still be farming sheep rather than turned into a giant lignite mine."

Asked whether the economic impact of lignite justified mining and emissions, she said there were other ways to grow the economy.

She pointed to the report View to the South, published by economics consultancy Berl in August, which advocated low-carbon developments as an alternative to lignite.

Solid Energy is pressing ahead with plans to develop the resource.

It has ambitious plans to convert lignite into urea for use as a fertiliser, which chief executive Don Elder has said could remove New Zealand's reliance on imported fertiliser.

A trial briquetting plant, the first phase of development, will begin production before the end of the year.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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