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Forest and Bird welcomes Cypress Mine protest

Forest and Bird welcomes Cypress Mine protest and Happy Valley occupation

Forest and Bird today welcomed a student-led occupation of the proposed Happy Valley Cypress coal mine site in the upper Waimangaroa catchment on the West Coast. It called on the Government to instruct state-owned Solid Energy to withdraw the resource consent applications for the open cast mine.

"Conservation Minister Chris Carter's decision to allow the Pike mine means the impressive Pike River valley is to be sacrificed for a huge export coal mine. This protest by students from Massey, Victoria and Otago universities highlights why the loss of another magnificent area for a further export coal mine is unacceptable," Forest and Bird field officer, Eugenie Sage said.

"The occupation reflects the anger conservationists feel at pollution from the nearby Stockton coal mine and the ongoing destruction of a spectacular landscape and important kiwi and giant land snail habitat by mining in the Waimangaroa area."

"With the coal lobby calling for more mining, it is important that New Zealanders realise the major damage that mining causes in places like the Denniston Plateau," she said. "The students deserve support."

"The ongoing pollution and damage from Solid Energy's current mine at Stockton mean the company's claims to environmental responsibility lack credibility. The proposed Cypress mine would have severe impacts including habitat loss and water pollution," she said.

"Acid mine drainage from the Stockton mine has made the once beautiful Mangatini Stream a dead waterway and polluted the lower Ngakawau River. Seepage from the large water treatment lake near Mt Frederick pollutes the headwaters of the Waimangaroa River."

"The upper Waimangaroa is a strikingly beautiful area, with the tussock-filled basin of Happy Valley sharply contrasting to the broad sandstone "pavements" of the plateau. Mining has already destroyed much of the Denniston plateau, now Solid Energy wants to mine what's left," she said.

Resource consent hearings on the Cypress mine applications are likely in May. Forest and Bird's submissions on the consent applications opposed the mine because of its environmental impacts.


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