Bathurst drops waterborne coal transport for aerial system
Bathurst Resources has dropped plans for a pipeline to carry coal from the Denniston Plateau to the coast in favour of an aerial system, in a compromise deal that has seen residents of the Fairdown township drop their appeal against Bathurst’s Escarpment mine proposal.
The would-be coking coal miner still faces two other appeals lodged by environmental groups against resource consents granted last year for the open-cut Escarpment project.
Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan said the new arrangements would also conserve working capital, delay the need for construction of a coal-washing plant and reduce operating costs to deliver “a better capital profile and significantly reduce the environmental effects of the Buller Project.”
However, the new plan also foresees a “slightly lower” annual coal production rate of around 500,000 tonnes until the new aerial transport system is built, and will require coal to be transported off the plateau by truck for shipment from Westport or railing to Lyttelton for export.
The aerial transport option will be finalised in the first two years of coal production and will require new resource consents and Bathurst will continue to hold those granted last year in case it is unable to proceed with its alternative plans.
The company divides its Buller Project plans into two segments, with the southern prospects targeted first and North Buller prospects, the scoping study for which is expected to be delivered in June.
However, Bathurst believed North Buller and Escarpment coal could be blended, which may allow construction of a coal washing plant to be deferred for more than the two years currently envisaged.
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