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Environmental report welcomed

Hon Gerry Brownlee
Minister of Energy and Resources


21 October 2009 Media Statement

Environmental report welcomed

Energy and Resources Minister, Gerry Brownlee, is welcoming a report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment about the Stockton coal mine, describing it as a useful contribution.

Dr Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, has released her investigation into the environmental management at the mine, operated by the SOE, Solid Energy.

The report commends Solid Energy for its environmental management at the mine near Granity on the West Coast, and also makes further recommendations about old mining licences.

“It has to be remembered mining has been taking place on the Stockton Plateau for over 100 years, there’s an annual rainfall of over 6 metres on the site, and the already acidic local streams were exposed to run off from the mining site,” he said.

“In recent years Solid Energy has started a new environmental regime which has produced impressive results, particularly with water quality."

“There’s been a big reduction in the level of suspended solids in the Mangatini stream, improved Ph levels in the Ngakawau River, and reports of whitebait returning to that river,” said Mr Brownlee.

“I congratulate Solid Energy for achieving the report’s commendation and believe it sets the standard for environmental management of mine fields,” said Mr Brownlee.

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The Commissioner also made further recommendations about 111 mining licences granted under old mining legislation before the passing of the RMA and Crown Minerals Act.

“I have noted these recommendations and Ministers will give them further consideration. As a general principle an older mining licence doesn’t excuse anyone from operating to a high environmental standard,” said Mr Brownlee.

“Finally I wish to point out the Stockton mine is operating under one of the old mine licences and yet Solid Energy has still developed an environmental management system worthy of commendation,” he said.


ENDS

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