Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Southland coal looks set to stay in the hole

immediate release

Southland coal looks set to stay in the hole as briquette plant mothballed 
16 October 2013-- Coal activists are cheering today at the news that Solid Energy and GLT Ltd are mothballing the lignite briquette plant in Mataura, Southland, and said they were confident that a final decision later this month would shut it for good.

This is the final nail hammered into the coffin of Solid Energy’s grandiose plans to turn farmland into an open-cast lignite mine: a multi-billion dollar plan to use some of the world’s dirtiest coal to convert into diesel, urea, and into highly experimental “briquettes.” (see Solid Energy history, below). 

“This is a great day for the climate - Southland’s coal is being kept right where it should be – in the hole, propping up beautiful, fertile farmland,” said Rosemary Penwarden of Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA).

“Meanwhile, Solid Energy has left a divided community, sponsorships abandoned, and a valley full of tenant farmers wondering what their future is going to be.  This should be a warning for any community when a big coal company comes to town, promising the earth.”

After Ravensdown walked away from the coal-to-urea project, and Fonterra confirmed it wouldn’t use the briquettes, Solid Energy’s plans were looking pretty shaky.  After Solid’s economic downfall, the company turned to its partner in the briquetting plant, GTL Energy Australia, to continue in its efforts to get the briquette plant up and running.

While GTL is still talking up the success of the briquette plant, over the course of this year, neighbours have continued to report - from their observations of the plant, and after their regular meetings with the plant manager - that the experimental technology has suffered from continued problems.   The company had even been seen returning briquettes to the New Vale mine from whence the coal had come, returning the coal to its hole. 

In June, a CANA Freedom of Information request found that a similar effort by GTL to trial the technology in North Dakota had resulted in an explosion in the plant, that was then closed down. The FOI showed that Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment officials had expressed grave concerns at the fire risks in Mataura.

Last month, on 18 September, the local fire department attended a fire at the Mataura plant after dust in some ducting caught alight.  

“This whole sorry mess, along with the financial instability of Solid Energy, should be a warning to the Government not to trust the promises of Big Coal.  Perhaps their eyes should be now turning to the shaky financial condition of Bathurst Resources, who want to dig up the Denniston Plateau” said Ms Penwarden.

Some of Solid Energy's past promises

September 2009:  Solid promises 500 jobs from lignite to Urea

February 2011: Solid Energy promises lignite projects worth $1.5 billion a year

September 2011: Briquetting plant: Solid promises 85 full time positions (now down to one, with three jobs lost this week)

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Spark, Voda And Telstra To Lay New Trans-Tasman Cable

Spark New Zealand and Vodafone, New Zealand’s two dominant telecommunications providers, in partnership with Australian provider Telstra, will spend US$70 million building a trans-Tasman submarine cable to bolster broadband traffic between the neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Current Account Deficit Widens

New Zealand's annual current account deficit was $6.1 billion (2.6 percent of GDP) for the year ended September 2014. This compares with a deficit of $5.8 billion (2.5 percent of GDP) for the year ended June 2014. More>>

ALSO:

Still In The Red: NZ Govt Shunts Out Surplus To 2016

The New Zealand government has pushed out its targeted return to surplus for a year as falling dairy prices and a low inflation environment has kept a lid on its rising tax take, but is still dangling a possible tax cut in 2017, the next election year and promising to try and achieve the surplus pledge on which it campaigned for election in September. More>>

ALSO:

Job Insecurity: Time For Jobs That Count In The Meat Industry

“Meat Workers face it all”, says Graham Cooke, Meat Workers Union National Secretary. “Seasonal work, dangerous jobs, casual and zero hours contracts, and increasing pressure on workers to join non-union individual agreements. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: ComCom Charges Hawkins’ Finance Companies Over Debt Recovery

The Commerce Commission has filed criminal proceedings against two finance companies run by former 1980s high-flyer Allan Hawkins over their debt recovery practices. More>>

ALSO:

Science Media Centre: The Big Science Stories Of 2014

It was a dramatic year for science, one that witnessed a severe outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and an historic mission to land a space probe on a comet. On the home front... headlines with animal testing for 'legal highs', 1080 use to tackle increased pest numbers and court action over genetically modified organisms among the most-covered stories. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news