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

 

Wood Producers: Crisis In New Zealand Log Supply

New Zealand wood processing leaders held a hui with senior government officials and political leaders in Whangarei yesterday to assess the acute log supply shortage to local mills in Northland. More>>

Consents And Taxes: Trustpower 'Very Disappointed' With Judgement

Trustpower is "very disappointed" with a Supreme Court ruling dismissing its bid to claim tax deductions on $17.7 million of project costs in a case closely watched by large-scale infrastructure developers. More>>

ALSO:

Fruitful Endeavours: Kiwifruit Exports Reach Record Levels

In June 2016, kiwifruit exports rose $105 million (47 percent) from June 2015 to reach $331 million, Statistics New Zealand said today. Overall, goods exports rose $109 million (2.6 percent) in June 2016 (to $4.3 billion). More>>

ALSO:

Economic Update: RBNZ Says Rate Cut Seems Likely

The Reserve Bank will likely cut interest rates further as a persistently strong kiwi dollar makes it difficult for the bank to meet its inflation target, it said. The local currency fell. More>>

ALSO:

House Price Action Plan: RBNZ Signals National Lending Restrictions

The central bank wants to cap bank lending to property investors with a deposit of less than 40 percent at 5 percent and restore the 10 percent limit for owner-occupiers wanting to take out a mortgage with a deposit of less than 20 percent, according to a consultation paper released today. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news