Defending Denniston

11 Nov 2011

The government has so far failed to keep a promise it made during last year’s Schedule 4 mining U-turn, and this could make it harder to protect the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau from a 200-hectare open-cast coal mine.

Australian company Bathurst Resources wants to devastate public conservation land on the plateau with an open-cast coal mine.

The Minister of Conservation needs to give permission for this through a concession for the coal processing plant and an access arrangement to destroy conservation land to mine the coal.

After the government last year backed down on opening national parks for mining, it agreed to publicly notify any proposed access arrangements for mining on conservation land that is not specially protected under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act.

Legislation to confirm the promise has not been passed.

If the minister publicly notifies the Denniston mine access arrangement, all
New Zealanders would get the chance to have a say.

Forest & Bird has asked the minister, Kate Wilkinson, to keep the government’s promise but she has not yet replied.

Forest & Bird would like a 5900-hectare reserve created on the Denniston Plateau and surrounding areas to protect the last remaining habitat of several endangered
species.

We are also appealing against Bathurst’s resource consent for its mine.

Please write to the minister – k.wilkinson@ministers.govt.nz– and
urge her to publicly notify the access arrangement for the Denniston mine.