Sharechat Logo

High Court rules Crown Minerals Act has primacy for Te Kuha coal mine application

Friday 16th February 2018

Text too small?

The High Court has ruled that the Crown Minerals Act has primacy over the Reserve Act in an application to mine coal on reserve land in Buller.

Justice Gerald Nation's ruling was sought by Rangitira Developments, which wanted to know what Buller District Council was required to consider when considering its application for access to land managed by the council as a 'water conservation reserve' under the Reserve Act. Rangitira wants to develop the Te Kuha open cast coal mine at the site which is south of the Denniston and Stockton Plateaus, southeast of Westport.

It already holds a mining permit granted under the Crown Minerals Act but mine development also requires approval from the Buller District Council to access its land. Approval is also needed from the Department of Conservation because the development extends onto a small portion of stewardship land. Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has declined to comment on the case, given she still needs to make a decision jointly with the Minister of Energy and Resources, in regard to mining on the conservation land.

In the meantime, Forest and Bird has appealed the resource consent. DOC has joined the appeal process as an interested party to provide expert advice.

Rangitira is owned by a limited partnership associated with Stevenson Group which includes Stevenson Mining and was granted resource consents following a hearing by commissioners. That decision was adopted by the council, whose officers had advised that the local authority only had to have regard to the Reserves Act. Opposing the plans is the Forest & Bird Protection Society, which argues that the Reserves Act, with its more restrictive obligations on the council "to manage and protect the scenic, biological and natural features present on the reserve to the extent compatible with" the primary purpose of the reserve.

The reserve, from which Westport draws its water supply, is about 1,825 hectares. Rangitira specifically asked the court what role s23 of the Reserves Act had in decisions regarding access for coal mining made by administering bodies of reserves under s60 Crown Minerals Act which covers right of access arrangements. It wanted to know whether the council could exercise its discretion in weighing factors such as economic benefits to the region and offers to offset environmental impact with the enhancement of other natural areas.

Justice Nation held that the application for access is to be treated as an application governed by the Crown Minerals Act but that in considering all relevant matters it should have regard to the values that the Reserves Act seeks to protect. But matters relevant under the Crown Minerals Act could include the economic and social benefits which the Buller District might obtain and it was for the council to decide what the ultimate outcome should be.


  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares gain; a2 jumps to 12-month high as earnings outperform
NZ dollar drifts lower following early boost from rising dairy prices
Meridian positions for next generation development
Kiwibank lifts first-half net profit 47.6% amid rekindled growth
John Fellet: Came to Sky TV for 18 months, stayed 28 years
Marsden Maritime net profit down on lower cargo through Northport
Countdown supermarkets 1H earnings dip as digital investment continues
Fletcher open to re-entering high rise construction market
Power price spike put margin squeeze on NZ producers in Dec quarter, stats show
Tilt Renewables to raise A$260m of new equity

IRG See IRG research reports