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Forest & Bird calls for permanent stop to Denniston mine

Forest & Bird calls for permanent stop to Denniston mine

Wellington, 25 February 2014 - Forest & Bird is calling on Bathurst Resources not to start the destructive preparatory work on its planned open cast coal mine on the Denniston Plateau, following the news the company is delaying the project indefinitely.

Bathurst Resources has blamed a slump in coking coal prices since 2012 for the move.

“This situation is entirely predictable. If a huge government-backed company like Solid Energy is having trouble making a go of coalmining on the West Coast, Bathurst will never be able to,” says Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin.

The company says it will build dams, and mine small amounts of coal necessary for market certification, while full-scale mining is put on hold.

“It would be a tragedy if Bathurst defiled the Denniston Plateau before its Australian investors decided they had had enough of pouring good money after bad into this fundamentally flawed project,” Debs Martin says.

“We’ve always maintained that the West Coast needs something better than the ‘boom and bust’ economic cycle offered by coalmining. So far, Bathurst Resources has only offered bust.”

Forest & Bird would prefer to see the plateau’s unique landscape, plants and animals permanently protected by a reserve.

“This also shows that the government’s dig, drill and burn agenda is not the right path for New Zealand. Over the last five years it’s got us nowhere. Anadarko and Petrobras haven’t found any deep sea oil, and now Bathurst is putting its project on the backburner. Capitalising on our clean green advantage is clearly the only way forward,” Debs Martin says.

Forest & Bird is New Zealand's largest independent conservation organisation, with 50 branches nationwide. It protects our native plants, animals and wild places, on land and in our oceans.

ENDS

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