Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Solid Energy confirms Ohai Mine closure

19 February 2009 – Embargoed for 3pm

Solid Energy confirms Ohai Mine closure

Energy producer, Solid Energy has confirmed it will close Ohai Opencast Mine in Southland at the end of June 2009, when the last recoverable coal from the current pit will be extracted. The company first signalled the mine would wind down after it lost a major commercial supply contract in 2007.

Rapidly declining reserves at the mine have reduced the volume of coal that can be bagged for the household market before closure to 5,000 tonnes which, based on previous years, will not meet demand beyond the 2009 winter.

Solid Energy, which has spent recent years re-working old underground mines at Ohai, had thought the last pit would provide enough coal to supply the household market through the 2010 winter but Chief Operating Officer, Barry Bragg, says this outlook has been affected by the diminishing reserves.

“Estimating coal reserves in pits that have been previously worked by underground mining is difficult and on this occasion we have 20% less coal than predicted. The last remaining pit currently contains 45,000 tonnes of coal but most of that is needed to honour commercial supply contracts, leaving us with only 5,000 tonnes of household coal that we hope will last most of this winter.”

Household coal customers will still be able to purchase bulk coal at the gate from Solid Energy’s other Southland mine, New Vale, west of Mataura.

Mr Bragg says that while most of the 13 Ohai staff will be made redundant by the closure, the company is looking to see if it can offer alternative employment at other Solid Energy sites, such as New Vale.

Following Ohai Mine’s closure, many of the buildings and plant will be dismantled and either redistributed to other Solid Energy sites, with most going to New Vale, or offered for tender. Rehabilitation and environmental monitoring will continue at the site for several years.

There will be five pits to rehabilitate, which will be reshaped and partially filled with available overburden before being seeded with pasture for grazing. After this is done, three remaining hollows will be formed into lakes of 29 hectares, 12 hectare and 7 hectares, with wetland vegetation sown along the banks.

Mr Bragg says that the rehabilitation has been designed to allow for the resumption of mining if a substantial long-term supply contract could provide the economies of scale needed to open a new pit.

To facilitate rehabilitation, Solid Energy hopes to remove about 40,000 tonnes of fines from the site, which may be railed to Lyttelton for export if no local buyers can be found. About 20,000 tonnes of fine coal has been exported this year.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

There Is A Field: Reimagining Biodiversity In Aotearoa

We are in a moment of existential peril, with interconnected climate and biodiversity crises converging on a global scale to drive most life on Earth to the brink of extinction. However, our current worldview and political paradigm renders us incapable of responding adequately due to its disconnected and divisive default settings.

These massive challenges can, however, be reframed as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fundamentally change how humanity relates to nature and to each other. Read on The Dig>>

The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
The Scoop Ecosystem has grown bigger with the launch of The Dig - a new public interest, in-depth, Engaged Journalism platform. More>>


Unscoped Or Missed Damage: Resolution For Canterbury Owners Of On-Sold Homes

People with over-cap on-sold* properties in Canterbury can now apply for a Government payment so they can get on and repair their homes. More>>


Hamilton-Auckland: First Urban Growth Partnership Signed

New Zealand’s first urban growth partnership between the Government, local councils and mana whenua was signed at a meeting of mayors, chairs and ministers in Hampton Downs today. More>>


Vote On Action Next Week: Secondary Principals Walk From Negotiations

“Unfortunately we consider there is no further value in continuing negotiations at this point. The government has not been able to table an offer that will be acceptable to our members.” More>>

Patrol Car Stolen, Glocks Taken: Manhunt In Gore

The driver rammed the patrol car before fleeing on foot with Police chasing, also on foot. The man has then circled back around, stolen the patrol vehicle, which had the keys left in it, and rammed another Police car... Two Police-issued Glock pistols were stolen. More>>


"Shocking And Dangerous": Accused Mosque Shooter's Prison Letter Posted Online

The man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks has sent seven letters from prison and had two others withheld, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says. Corrections has now blocked the accused gunman from sending or receiving mail... More>>


Standing On List Only: Paula Bennett To Run National’s Election Campaign

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Paula Bennett as our Campaign Chair for the 2020 General Election, President Peter Goodfellow says. More>>

Waiver For State Care Inquiry: Historic Abuse Survivors 'Can Speak Freely'

Abuse in state care survivors can take part in the forthcoming Royal Commission proceedings without being bound by any confidentiality obligations to Crown agencies under their historic claim settlements, Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said. More>>


Trail Trial: Sexual Violence Court Reduces Lead-Up Times And Trauma

An evaluation of New Zealand’s first sexual violence court has confirmed that the approach taken in the judge-led pilot considerably reduces the time that cases take to reach trial. More>>




InfoPages News Channels