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Pike River obtains consents for rail loading facility

Tuesday 17th June 2008

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Pike River Coal Limited (Pike River) has been given the go-ahead to fill the last gap in the transport chain required to export premium coking coal from its new underground mine on the West Coast.

Resource consents have been granted by the Buller District Council and West Coast Regional Council to construct and operate a $12 million rail loading facility at Ikamatua on the floor of the Grey Valley, 22 kilometres from the Pike River site and alongside the main rail line.

Peter Whittall, General Manager, Mines says, "The rail loading facility, due for completion in December 2008, has been located away from the small community of Ikamatua to minimise the impact for local residents".

Consistent with Pike River's approach to minimising environmental effects where practicable, the rail loading facility will be constructed on unproductive land made up of old dredge tailings and largely screened by regenerating scrub and other plantings. The new facility will include a rail loop and coal conveyor where trains can stop and be loaded with coal delivered by trucks.

As coal production gets underway from July this year, it will take some months whilst pit bottom on the western side of the Hawera fault is constructed before any sizeable quantities of coal are available for transport. During this build-up period coal will be stockpiled at the mine's coal preparation plant. Trucking to the new rail loading facility in readiness for the first train shipments to Lyttelton is expected to commence late 2008/early 2009.

At full production from mid 2009, there will be between one and two loadings onto rail at Ikamatua per day. Pike River's total production will be exported to coke and steel makers who prize the coal's unique low ash content in the steel making process.

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