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Bathurst shares plunge 19% on appeal news

Bathurst shares plunge 19% on appeal news

By Pattrick Smellie

April 12 (BusinessDesk) - Shares of would-be coking coal miner Bathurst Resources plunged 18.75 percent to 26 cents after the first appeal from environmental groups opposing an Environment Court decision upholding its Escarpment open-cut mine resource consents.

The announcement from the Royal New Zealand Forest & Bird Society and West Coast Environmental Network came less than a day after the company said it hoped to be mining by Christmas.

The long-delayed mine, planned for the ecologically fragile Denniston Plateau above Westport, won backing from the Environment Court on March 28 against appeals on the resource consents initially granted in August 2011.

The Forest & Bird appeal lodged in the High Court today relates to a technical aspect of the consents, relating to a mined-out area previously worked by state-owned coal miner Solid Energy.

Bathurst chief executive Hamish Bohannan told BusinessDesk the appeal should not be seen as triggering the four to six month delay he warned appeals would likely create in a teleconference to media and equity analysts on Thursday.

"It shouldn't have any impact on the timing," said Bohannan, who conceded that could depend on achieving a timely hearing. The Bathurst development has been dogged by delays, to the frustration of Australian shareholders used to faster, simpler decision-making.


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