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Coal Activists’ Target Misplaced

Activists blocking a Canterbury coal mine over a proposed expansion need a reality check, says Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation.

The protest has been triggered by Bathurst Resources applying for resource consents from Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the Selwyn District Council to expand the mine at Coalgate.

“The coal these protestors are targeting was, a few short months ago, part of the supply chain for ‘essential services,’” said Straterra chief executive Chris Baker.

“Coal is mined in Canterbury to meet demand for the food processing sector, and to a lesser extent to heat schools and hospitals in the South Island where reticulated natural gas is not available.

“This coal is mined so that businesses using it can be competitive against other global producers. If these protests were ‘successful’, export revenue and jobs would be lost, and any casual analysis would conclude that global emissions would increase.

“As our farming friends repeatedly point out our agricultural sector is among the most efficient in the world, and these protestors are striking at the heart of our export dependent economy – could the timing be worse as we address the post Covid-19 recovery?

“We all understand the challenge to reduce emissions – but it is a global challenge, not New Zealand’s burden alone.

“Protests are an essential part of democracy, stopping legitimate business activity is not. I presume these protestors see coal, in New Zealand, as an easy target. That does them no credit,” Mr Baker concluded.

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