Bathurst opens its open-cast mining case
Expert witnesses to be called by listed Bathurst Resource will outline why they believe conditions will mitigate effects of an open-cast mine on the West Coast's Denniston Plateau.
An Environment Court hearing opened today in Christchurch as Forest & Bird appealed against a resource consent granted earlier this year.
Lawyer Jo Appleyard opened the case for Bathurst Resources, which owns the planned open-cast Escarpment project on the Denniston Plateau on the West Coast of the South Island.
She told the court how mining had been carried out at Denniston since the 1920s, and how the proposed new mine would use best practice to rehabilitate the area and also mitigate effects with pest control.
Ecology, planning and policy experts, including district council staff, would give their reasons for why they believed various conditions would be sufficient to allay about environmental depredation.
Forest & Bird lawyer Peter Anderson highlighted what he says is the “extraordinarily high ecological values of the plateau, which is on public conservation land".
It is the home of 32 endangered species, he says, including two within the mine footprint. They include a unique polymorphic population of lizards, a carnivorous land snail and an “extraordinary assemblage of invertebrates”.
If consent was granted the special features of the plateau may be lost for little economic benefit, which were dependant on the vagaries of commodity prices, he says.
The hearing will run for two weeks in Christchurch, break for a fortnight, resume for a week at Greymouth and conclude with a final week's hearing in Christchurch.