No open cast coal mining on conservation land, says Coal Action Network Aotearoa
Press release: Coal Action Network Aotearoa
Monday 20th June

A new coal mine on the Denniston plateau would be a climate as well as ecological disaster, says Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson Frances Mountier.

Bathurst Resources, a new Australian company backed with Chinese money, wants to open-cast mine large areas of conservation land near Denniston on the West Coast of the South Island (1)
“Climate change is the greatest threat facing our planet today – we should not be opening new coal mines. To suggest the permanent destruction of ecologically sensitive conservation land for coal in order to profit an international coal mining company is simply absurd,” says Ms Mountier.
“A resource consent hearing is currently underway in Westport for the Escarpment Mine, but the Minister of Conservation will also have to give approval, since the mine lies entirely on conservation land. We urge the Minister to not give that approval, given the significant ecological effects open casting 200 hectares of a biodiversity priority site would have.

“We have to leave the coal in the hole in order to avoid catastrophic climate change. During his recent tour of New Zealand, pre-eminent climate scientist Dr James Hansen criticised the National Government for their plans to expand coal mining in this country. We need to heed his warning, and save the Denniston Plateau,” said Ms Mountier.

Frances Mountier
Coal Action Network Aotearoa spokesperson
021 175 7484

(1) The company hopes to mine up to 1.5 million tonnes of coal per year from the proposed Escarpment Mine, a 28% increase in New Zealand’s current coal production levels, and a 62% increase in exports. In 2013, the company plans to open the next in a series of Buller Coal plateau mines, increasing production to two million tonnes per year, almost as much as New Zealand’s largest mine, Stockton open-cast coal mine. See the Latest Energy Quarterly from MED for data on the increase in coal production / exports: