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Environmentalists asked to drop challenge and save jobs

BUSINESSDESK: Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has called on the NZ Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and West Coast environmentalists to drop their objections to Bathurst Resources' Escarpment Mine project, saying it will create new jobs on the West Coast.

"If we are serious about jobs and providing incomes on the West Coast then objectors should stop getting in the way of this immediate opportunity to create those jobs," Mr Joyce says.

Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan says his company is optimistic it will be mining coking coal on the Denniston Plateau above Westport by July next year, assuming it prevails in appeals against its resource consents.

The hearing is due to start on October 29 and run through until mid-December, with both Forest & Bird and the West Coast Environmental Network challenging the mining resource consents for the Escarpment open-cut mine.

"The Escarpment mine is an open-cast mining project that is ready to go and would provide 225 jobs and incomes for workers and their families on the West Coast straight away," Mr Joyce says.

"The developer is being held up from opening the mine by on-going litigation that has gone through the Environment Court, the High Court and the Court of Appeal."

The consent process had already taken "a staggering seven years". 

Mr Joyce's comments come a day after state-owned coal miner Solid Energy announced widespread job cuts as it puts its Spring Creek mine on the West Coast into care and maintenance and reduced production at its Huntly East Mine.

Spring Creek is one of the biggest employers for the town of Greymouth.

Prime Minister John Key this week reiterated that Solid Energy would not be one of the first state-owned energy companies to be sold down because of is difficulties.

Bathurst has already agreed to a range of environmental initiatives intended to offset or mitigate the impact of the Escarpment mine, which is expected to produce one million tonnes of coal a year for export to steel mills.

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Comments and questions

How very civilised, perhaps a more potent request to these eco green political parties pretending to be saving the planet should be presented with the opportunity of losing their charity tax status and have to fend for money like the rest of us.

yep,lets exterminate the dolphins and turn the ross sea into a wasteland as well,provide a few jobs for a few years,much more important that any future for any of these environments

I read an article a couple of weeks back where the comment was 'a Country cannot afford to be broke and green'

Get ready Charles cos it's coming. You lot have relentlessly hammered every form of primary industry in this Country and in case you do not know primary industry is what fills your stomach each day in this land of ours.

The only real form surviving is farming and the green sharks are circling there as well. Once Norman and the rest of his communist cronies get into power that will be the end of that as well and then where will we be?

And yet just this morning a Green MP was on the news moaning about how the Govt is doing nothing for West Coast miner's jobs. Green is the new colour of hypocrisy.

What a load of nonsense - ordinary people, business people actually do care about their environment as anyone else does.

I can't believe the arrogance, the shortsightedness, the self-importance...

Often these environmentalists don't even live in the area where they are trying to block development. They don't care about jobs, families or incomes. They care about imposing themselves upon others and standing up for themselves, plain and simple.

The price of these idiots is too often paid by everybody except themselves, and our court system gladly allows them to appeal, over and over, and over.

Can't they be made to pay for economic loss they cause? As in "pay up, or shut up"?

Have a look at some of what they'll be killing off for this mine.

Okay - where do the jobs come from??
I suggest that you will have no answer, either because you have no answer or there is an answer but giving it would destroy your own credibility - which is it??????

They also often set themselves up as incorporated societies, then dissolve them rather than paying court-ordered costs to the other side.

"The consent process had already taken "a staggering seven years". "

Project Aqua - $2Billion development - several million spent on RMA compliance to no avail...

Now if the government really wanted to help improve NZ Inc, making us more nimble and agile - for God's sake sort out the dog's breakfast piece of legislation Labour created called the RMA.

Fix the RMA, fix our employment legislation heavily slanted against employers by the Labour government as a complicit sop to their renta-thug union comrades... and NZ will get cracking again.

Remove the roadblocks... SME business's can't get past them!

The present government would love to remove the 'obstacles to progress from irresponsible legislation' of the Clark era; but; I can guarantee that the majority of the people, who would benefit from such a move, would not vote for a National government. Our newsmedia certainly would not support such a move either.

N.Z. needs jobs really, really badly. If there is some minor effect on snails or worms who bloody cares ?. Its long overdue that New Zealand takes a far more open minded and pragmatic approach to mining opportunities. These Greenies are destroying jobs.

True, anyway wasn't it DOC who killed more endangered snails in one single stuff up than any mining could have done just recently?

It's easy being a greenie, and oppose all development with a full belly.
My challenge is for these "greenies", to go to Somali or India and see how long their spiel would sustain them.

The minister and some of these commenters need to realise that New Zealand could get an economic return indefinitely from the renewable resource that is already there, instead of destroying natural habitat to dig up a finite, non-renewable resource, and damaging our global brand. At least some of the protesters want to see long term sustainable prosperity, not short term exploitation by an offshore company.

Would you care to specifiy the economic return and the renewable resource? And don't claim tourism, as no tourists ever go near the area in question.

It would be great to get Owen Glenn to fund litigation against Forest & Bird for being vexatious litigants, then go after them for exemplary damages. At the same time, sue the protaganists in their personal capacities. That might change the greenies' minds over the pros and cons of court processes fairly quickly.

Owen Glenn would not support such a stupid idea.

They killed more snails at the DOC office in Hokitika than they ever did mining in North Buller

When one stops and investigates what really will be lost by allowing the mining to go ahead, the appreciation for what is there goes up immensely. The natural environments of Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Canterbury have all gone, and with it many species of animals. If we have to dig something up, why not do it in an area where we already have wrecked the natural environment.

What constitutes long term sustainable prosperity in that area. Maybe some of you greenies should get off your backside and put your money where your mouth is and start creating businesses like "eco-tourism" ventures into the area so that everyone can benefit from this rare natural resource!!

The reality is, business is needed to sustain our population, there is a very good option to do this through the mine, we are not hearing of any alternatives so what's the problem.

#9 - please quantify this "indefinite economic return" into a per annum EBIT, and break it down for us. I'm sure that once the minister sees your rationale, he will change their mind. So will Bathurst when they realise the more lucrative opportunity. The people currently unemployed on the West Coast are probably interested in seeing some of this economic return as well.

Most of the protesting element can't even spell sustainability, let alone explain what it is.

This greenie illusion as to the 'long term economic benefits' of these areas is the biggest crock of the probverbial out

(1) most of the greenies and certainly the vast majority of their comrades(invariably from Europe) who are going to save us would have no idea how to find the area they seek to protect if (say) they were dropped in the middle of Westport (without their GPS)

(2) West Coasters have found that most of the aforementioned comrade's green conscience lasts only until such time as they feel the urge to go to the Toilet at which time they drop their pants in the nearest piece of native forest and leave us all something to remember them by

(3) It rains a lot here - whatever happens tourists don't like that much but it is a reality. It may be scenic but it is not as exciting as Queenstown or as dry as the East Coast

(4) where are those comrades anyway? With the economic cold steel being felt in Europe they have noticably disappeared. Tourism is a commodity like everything else - it cycles - and currently it ain't happening(and will not be for the next ten years in all probability). What are we going to eat in the meantime?

The greens should be more worried about the environmental costs of burning the coal rather than the processes involved with mining it. The Denniston Plateau has a high-grade coking coal which burns more efficiently/cleaner than a coal such as lignite, which is the alternative the market may use. The more pollutive coal would be sourced from elsewhere, most likely from developing nations with little/no environmental protection policies. Therefore any level-headed thinker who can overcome a 'not-in-my-backyard' mindset should be happy to produce this coal and sell it to the world market/China. So long as this was done on the provision that we were concentrating simultaniously on advancing greener technologies...

Yes, but their anti-everything movement is not rational.. It's just anti-everything. That's how they've been indoctrinated, that's how they act and that's how they think. However, our insitutions still give them democratic priviledges that assume rationality and consideration. We are putting our future, our jobs and our communities in the hands of tunnel-vision radicals for whom a tree is more important than a job. We should hear them out, but then dismiess them as looney, frankly.

I agree completely. I mentioned 'any level-headed thinker', in an attempt to use reason to sway the 'tunnel vision radicals' to change these looney ways.

Don't worry folks,we are all going to be saved by a dodgy fat German,who will be funding the green party and labour big time ,allowing them [And him ] to take controll of the NZ chequebook in approx 2 years.What a hoot.

And another thing about this 'indefinite economic return'

Clark and Cullen promised the Coast that the ongoing economic rewards from canning the beech scheme would be boundless and everlasting.

Well it is thirteen years on and we haven't seen many(or for that matter any)