12 Jun 2013

Denniston Plateau appeal adjourned

6:15 pm on 12 June 2013

An Environment Court has adjourned part of an appeal by Forest and Bird against an open-cast mine on the Denniston Plateau, saying he needs more information about its impact.

In May this year, Conservation Minister Nick Smith gave Australian company Bathurst Resources access to conservation land on the West Coast, but its resource consent is being challenged.

The High Court dismissed the first part of an appeal by the conservation group against a proposal by Bathurst Resources on 6 June.

Forest and Bird told that court the impact of the Sullivan Mine proposed by Solid Energy nearby should have been considered.

The Environment Court reconvened on Wednesday to consider subsequent discussions between the parties.

Judge Laurie Newhook said Bathurst needed to clarify its proposal around reducing the impact mining would have on the environment before he would consider granting resource consent.

The hearing is expected to resume in about two weeks' time.

Bathurst's open-cast mine could produce up to two million tonnes of industrial-grade export coal a and is expected to create more than 420 jobs.

Conservationists say the project will put at risk unique rock formations on the plateau and rare species such as snails, geckos and weta.