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Underground coal fire on Denniston Plateau

Underground coal fire on Denniston Plateau

Forest & Bird says one or more coal fires have broken out beneath the Denniston Plateau, and that the Department of Conservation (DOC) must stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work going on there until the fire or fires are extinguished.

Smoke can be seen rising from several cracks on the plateau, above a historic mine shaft. Bathurst Resources has recently drilled core samples close by, and drained a lake in the vicinity.

The coal seam that Bathurst recently won permission to open-cast mine on the plateau is adjacent to the seam that is currently being mined at Bathurst’s Cascade Mine, in a valley below the Denniston Plateau.

“This is too much of a coincidence. There’s little doubt this is linked to Bathurst’s mining activities,” says Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin.

“All efforts should now go into stopping the whole coal seam from catching alight. A major underground fire could seriously affect the unique trees and wildlife beyond the area that Bathurst has permission to mine,” Debs Martin says.

Forest & Bird staff have visited the site, and alerted DOC to the situation, as the Denniston Plateau is public conservation land.

“To our knowledge, Bathurst has not made any public statement on this issue – which is surprising, given the serious implications of an underground coal fire,” says Debs Martin.


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