Couple prepare for fight with dairy giant

00:45, Feb 20 2013
Terry Mackel and Mandy Boyd
Stunned: Terry Mackel and Mandy Boyd hope a Fonterra plan to develop an open-cast mine near their property will be defeated.

A couple who spent their life savings buying their dream retirement home are gearing up for a fight with dairy giant Fonterra which wants to dig up coal 500m from their boundary.

Terry Mackel and Mandy Boyd sold their Hawke's Bay farm and paid more than $1million for a lifestyle block on Mangatawhiri Rd, near Maramarua.

The married couple had heard about the proposed Mangatangi Mine, but maintain they had no idea how close to their home it would be.

It wasn't until the company's national consents manager David Wright knocked on their door three days after they moved in that they realised.

"He said, ‘I've come to see you about the mine.' I'm like, why? He's like ‘because it's going to be over there'," Mrs Boyd said.

Fonterra's coalmining company Glencoal has applied for resource consents to develop the coalmine on 30ha of farmland it has owned for 10 years between Mangatawhiri Rd and the new State Highway 2. It's expected to be notified for public submissions soon.


Residents say there's a mood of opposition growing among some people who fear the development will lower property values and damage their quiet rural life as a consequence of noise, dust, vibrations and other mining related issues.

The proposed Mangatangi mine would replace Glencoal's 18-year-old Kopako 3 (K3) mine 8km south of Maramarua, now nearing the end of its working life.

Glencoal has government permits to mine the new property, expected to yield around 120,000 tonnes of coal a year.

Mrs Boyd said they were so shocked at the news that they didn't discuss it for three days. "I'm thinking I feel really stupid that I've bought this property and didn't know about it."

Barfoot and Thompson estate agent Graham Willson, who sold the property, said he had no idea about the mine, and the vendors claimed Mrs Boyd and Mr Mackel knew about the proposal.

There are about 69 lifestyle blocks within a 3km radius of the proposed Mangatangi mine and 23 farms ranging from dairy to drystock.

Mr Wright said the majority of people have been "fairly positive" towards the mine plan.

"We appreciate the close neighbours' concern," he said. "We're working with them to better understand their concerns so we can mitigate those effects. But overall we've had some very positive feedback."

He's confident problems of noise, dust and vibrations can be mitigated so the effects on those neighbours are "less than minor".