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Public should have its say on mine expansion

1 November 2006 - Nelson

Forest & Bird media release for immediate use

Public should have its say on mine expansion

The public should get the chance to have its say on the proposed expansion of the Stockton Mine, Forest & Bird says.

The West Coast Regional Council has made a preliminary ruling that it will not require an application for resource consent by Solid Energy to expand the mine to be publicly notified, which would allow the public to make submissions.

Under the Resource Management Act the council is required to publicly notify consent applications unless it is satisfied that the adverse effects on the environment will be minor.

Forest & Bird Top of the South Island Field Officer Debs Martin says there is potential for more than minor adverse effects if the expansion of the Stockton Mine into the 32-hectare 4 West Block goes ahead.

Adverse effects apparent from Solid Energy's application and the assessment of environmental effects include:

- The effect of suspended solids from large discharges of limestone and cement kiln dust on water quality.

- Significant changes to the median flow of Mangatini Stream from water discharges.

- Significant changes to Granity Stream and Mine Creek.

- Potential effects of toxins, including hydrocarbons, from use of cement kiln dust.

- Uncertainty about potential changes to groundwater.

- Effect of trace elements on water quality.

Forest & Bird is also concerned about potential effects of sedimentation on habitat and food production for aquatic life, Debs Martin says.

"Given these concerns, Forest & Bird asks that the council reconsider its preliminary decision and notify the application, so that the public can be heard. Mining has generated significant adverse environmental effects, and there is no reason to believe effects of the Stockton expansion will be no more than minor."


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