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Councils to join Bathurst in defending consents

Thursday 22nd September 2011

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Coal-miner Bathurst Resources will have the backing of the West Coast Regional Council and Buller District Council as it tries to head off asppeals to the Environment Court against appeals on resource consents for open-cast mining in the hills above Westport.

The company said it has been informed by the two councils they intend to defend their decision to approve the mine alongside Bathurst, it said in a statement to the stock exchange.

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society, West Coast Environmental Network and the Fairdown Residents Association have lodged appeals to the Environment Court in a bid to block the mine.

Bathurst said it will try and negotiate a successful resolution before going to court.

“We will engage openly and in good faith with those who are concerned about our mine,” chief executive Hamish Bohannan said.

“We are committed to world class environmental values and believe money would be better spent on rehabilitating and protecting the West Coast environment than on legal costs.”

The Escarpment project is targeting approximately one million tonnes a year, with other planned mines boosting annual production to as high as four million tonnes annually.

Bathurst plans to send its high-value coking coal by lighter from Westport to New Plymouth for use in Asian steel mills.

The shares sank 5.3% to 90 cents in trading on the NZX today.


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