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Dairy giant Fonterra wants to open a new coal mine in Waikato to fuel its processing plants.
In an emailed statement, Fonterra's national consents manager David Wright says its mining company, Glencoal Energy, intends to lodge resource consents to build a mine near Mangatangi, about 50 minutes south of Auckland, off State Highway 2 towards Paeroa.
Without giving details, Mr Wright says the mine's footprint will be "very small" and will have a life of less than 10 years.
The land is owned by Fonterra and the mine will be open cast, he says, extracting 120,000 tonnes a year at its peak.
Consents could be lodged in a few months, after community consultation, with the intention of starting mining by the end of 2014.
Fonterra’s Waitoa, Hautapu, and Te Awamutu milk processing factories get their coal from the Kopako 3 mine, at nearby Maramarua, which is nearing the end of its life.
Last week, Solid Energy announced sweeping cuts to operations and staff, blamed on falling international coal prices.