27 Jan 2009

Mining company searches West Coast site for kiwi

10:30 am on 27 January 2009

Solid Energy has begun searching West Coast drill sites for wildlife, including kiwi, as it investigates the viability of its Cypress opencast mine.

Some of the 35 sites north of Westport are home to the great spotted kiwi, the Powelliphanta patrickensis snail and lizard species.

Solid Energy spokesperson Bryn Sommerville said any wildlife kiwi chicks or eggs found would be taken to the New Zealand Conservation Trust in Christchurch where they would be reared at Willowbank wildlife reserve as part of the Department of Conservation's kiwi recovery programme.

Mr Sommerville said any lizards and snails will also be moved and he believes the drill programme will not affect populations of any of the species.

Solid Energy's relocation of another snail, Powelliphanta augustus, from near the company's Stockton Mine angered environmentalists. However Mr Sommerville said Powelliphanta patrickensis is less critically endangered.