Conservation Minister Nick Smith’s announcement today that he’ll grant Australian mining company Bathurst access to mine part of the Denniston Plateau is a sign that the Government has learnt nothing from Solid Energy’s financial debacle, says Jeanette Fitzsimons of Coal Action Network Aotearoa.
Ms Fitzsimons is a member of the Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s national organising group, and has also worked with the West Coast Environment Network on its Supreme Court case arguing that climate change must be taken into account in consents on coal mining.
The financially strapped Bathurst, which announced this week that it’s dropping 20 staff currently working on a major part of its income stream, the Cascade mine, and pulling its drill rigs out of the Denniston Plateau to keep it “cash positive”.
“The Government appears hell-bent on backing yet another financially precarious coal company. It has changed the law retrospectively to give itself the power to allow access for mining, contrary to the requirements of the Conservation Act.
“Why allow this struggling company to rip the heart out of our precious conservation estate and wreck the climate? This is not what the people want and it will be opposed all the way, from in the courts to on the land.
“Why back coal, a sunset industry, when we could be getting ahead of the clean energy curve? All around the world investors are getting out of coal because they know 80% of it can never be burned if we are to stay within a safe level of climate change.
“Papers released by Treasury this week show that Solid Energy advised the Government in 2010 to mine as much as possible, as fast as possible, before the world sees the light and moves to renewable energy. It appears to me that the Government has wholeheartedly embraced Solid’s plan to destroy as much of the climate as possible before they are stopped,” said Fitzsimons.