Bathurst process inches forward

A conference call with the Environment Court to sort out negotiations timetable proposed.

Would-be coking coal miner Bathurst Resources and its adversary the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society New Zealand are at odds over elements of the process for court-ordered negotiations on conditions that would let the project go ahead.

Bathurst advised the NZX and ASX in filings that it would file revised conditions by April 29, with Forest and Bird to advise by May 8 whether it agrees to meet and discuss them further as quickly as possible.

However, while Bathurst wants all evidence on unresolved conditions to be lodged by May 17, Forest and Bird wants a consecutive exchange of evidence which would give the environmental group until May 31 to respond.

A conference call with the Environment Court to sort out the timetable is proposed.

Bathurst first gained resource consents for the Escarpment Mine on the ecologically fragile and historically mined Denniston Plateau, on the West Coast, in August 2011.

A "finely balanced" March 28 Environment Court judgment, on an appeal brought by Forest and Bird and another environmental advocacy group, reapproved the consents but with an order that best endeavours undertakings on environmental matters be made firm.

Bathurst shares were up 3 cents, or 13.7 percent, to 25 cents today.

(BusinessDesk)