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Forest and Bird rejects Joyce call, stands firm on appeals

BUSINESSDESK: The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society will press ahead with appeals against resource consents for Bathurst Resources' proposed open cast coal mine on conservation land in the Denniston Plateau region, above Greymouth.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce called on Forest & Bird and a West Coast environmental action network to drop appeals against consents granted last August, citing the need for West Coast mining jobs after state-owned Solid Energy announced the mothballing of its Spring Creek mine.

Some 220 of the 440 job losses at Solid Energy will be at Spring Creek. Bathurst says it would employ around 400 people at the Escarpment mine, the first of several Bathurst plans in the area.

However, Forest & Bird says Mr Joyce "is being opportunistic in deflecting the blame for the mismanagement of the Spring Creek mine".

"I feel for the people who are losing their jobs, obviously," Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell told BusinessDesk.

"That's a real issue. But mining is a boom-and-bust industry with a long history of it on the West Coast. It's one of the reasons their economy has never been as strong as they would like.

"The long-term future is having industries that are much more sustainable."

He questioned also whether Mr Joyce's intervention in favour of Bathurst's proposals could put the minister foul of the legal process playing out through resource consent appeals, and the statutory process that would follow if Bathurst succeeded and sought ministerial position for an access agreement to Department of Conservation land.

"There would be a serious question, given his public advocacy, about whether such a decision has been influenced by government policy," Mr Hackwell says.

Bathurst chief executive Hamish Bohannan has reported frustrations among shareholders over delays to the Bathurst consent process, saying the company has spent $15 million so far on consenting issues.

Comments and questions

Forest & Bird has been hijacked by political flakes and eco nutters. The fact they still have Royal accreditation I now find offensive.

Ridiculous call for the minister!!! Why would we open up all CONSERVATION land to mining at the very coincidentally timed lay off of many jobs?? I am all for mining under some sensible guidelines but i think dedicated CONSERVATION land should be kept to exactly that.

If we sell out now our children cant just undo certain damage it is permanent . Look at America or China for proof, you cant eat anything from their rivers, lakes or coastline.

Your comment would be true of the communist and command(ed) economy in China, but would you care to link us all to evidence of the widespread 'permanent' polluting of rivers and lakes in the US?


40% of all rivers too polluted to eat from 46% of lakes

Unmitigated emotional claptrap.
You clearly havn't been to either America or China. Nature in both places still provides an abundance especially if you get away from the crowds . All their food dosn't turn up in a can from Fonterra etc for goodness sake. As for mining you only need to look to Europe to see the most wonderful mega parks and recreational creations post mining and quarrying. Nature with mans help has created in the shortest of times places better than before.
Ever heard of Capability Brown?

what a load rubbish get a life pal

Steven Joyce has crossed the line of the sub judice rule by expressing an opinion on how he wants a matter before the courts to be decided. He needs to read Parliaments standing orders. .

Twigs and Twitters are just another agency for those that love the idea of a collectivised utopia. Sure they would have started off with the main agenda of looking out for wildlife however they seem to object to anyone doing anything anywhere and in order for anyone to get anything done the companies have to cough up to go through the consent process and also for conditions i.e. payoffs. The same is happening in consultation with Maori.
All in all, the consultation costs a ton of money and adds to the cost of the development. Fees for this, fees for that, all add up.
New Zealand is dying a death of a thousand cuts.
Time to not ammend the RMA but to throw it out and start again.
Also, councils should also throw out the UN Agenda 21.

Denniston has already been mined and is currently being mined - 90% of the land on the West Coast is locked up in conservation land so there is no shortage. I am far far more concerned about the hectares of forest damage occuring from possums than mining.

Complete facts are helpful
Fact 1 - the mining on the plateau was underground so did not do any damage
Fact 2 - there is no current mining on the plateau
Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story

Yes, I agree. Possums will quite quickly browse to death the remaining pockets of native bush and together with stoats and rats they'll finish off NZ's native bird and lizard population. Perhaps the mining companies could help fund research for a virus or contraceptive that kills these pests off for good?

If one travels across Europe there are many sites that used to be mines that are reforested and so on. All we need to do is take a massive bond - big enough that the government can fund reforestation if the company reneges and put in place proper environmental boundaries and safety aspects. I have no problem with mining conducted intelligently in conservation areas.

Mr Joyce, if you want things to happen, change the law and make it happen!!

Just being a side line spectaor shouting at the players while the game is being lost for New Zealanders, does you no credit at all.

Mr Joyce you are the government, it's time you and your Jonkey Government started to Govern!!

The Govt needs to throw out the RMA, the Environment Court which is bent in favour of the environment and the bent treaty of Waitangi which is creating separitist friction and empower people to be able to get off their proverbials and enhance their lives without crippling environmental district plans.

The Govt needs to pull all funding to the enviromental terrorists Forest & Bird and the Enviromental Defence Society to stop their madness in destroying this country.

I agree but it won't make any difference because they don't get any government funding

The Govt needs to pull the funding from Forrest and Bird, EDS etc and clean up the Enviroment Court which is bent in favour of the environment and destroying NZ.

This is just another Stephen Joyce "lets do a deal" at any cost. He gave all the transport and rail work to his buddies when Minister Of Transport, so who is gaining from his largess now ?

The Govt needs to fix the broken system where Forest & Bird, EDS in cahoots with the Environment Court are wrecking this country.

SO how come coal from existing mines can't be sold because of low demand, but magically coal from a new mine will have plenty of demand?
One feels that the miners jobs have been sacrificed to push Joyces' development agenda - what does he stand to personally gain from this? future directorships in the company? unelected shyster.
Last weeks quote - "all manufacturing is a sunset industry so let it go to the wall" shows the man (man?) in his true colours.

Diffferent types of coal. Spring Creek is semi-soft - used for thermal and some steel production (the price of which is under severe pressure).....Bathrust's project is hard coking coal - steel only.

Thermal coal is dominated by places like Indonesia who are part of Asia.

Profit margins for Chinese steel makers are down to USD 0.26c per tonne at the moment, which explains why coking coal prices are also getting slammed.

Take a look at Central Otago. High intensity gold mining through the 1800's was largely unchecked and unregulated from an environmental point of view. Nowadays it's a tourist mecca. It's not regarded as a scarred landscape. In fact, it's mining history is celebrated. Wake up champagne "environmentalists"; the future of NZ's economic prosperity is underground.

I totally agree with Paul - the 1800s mining in Central Otago with gold pans and sluices is directly comparable to the massive diggers and explosive that will be used on Denniston to irrecveersibly damage the plateau

Many so-called environmentalists are still obsessing about plant food i.e. CO2.
They don't realise that the science of AGW is totally discredited, the models having been found to disregard basic physics. Their opposition to coal mining consequently has no scientific basis.

Plus, the embarassment of no global warming for 15 years in spite of increasing atmospheric CO2 is causing them to become increasingly hysterical as they slowly realise how silly they look.
Why, even Tim Groser in last week's Listener said ;- "IF the science is correct . . . ".
There is no doubt Tim ; the science of AGW has been found wanting.

The problem is , these so called environmentalists never got an education in the principles of science. They would do better to concentrate on the parts of agriculture where the science clearly shows that there are problems to be addressed.
Coal mining need do no environmental damage at all, and the economic benefits are surely needed right now.