Denniston Plateau coal mine appeal thrown out

Forest and Bird’s appeal against the Denniston Plateau coal mine has been tossed out.

If he’s true to form we can no doubt expect Nasty Norman to threaten Bathurst with an instant closure of Denniston should the Greens form a government in 2014.

Comments please Damian O’Connor – is it to be jobs for Coasters or will you be kowtowing to the Greens?

Conservationists fighting a decision to allow an Australian mining company to dig for coal on the West Coast’s Denniston Plateau have suffered a major setback today with a High Court appeal being thrown out.

The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society appealed interim resource consent given to Bathurst Resources Limited for an 188ha open-cast mine on the plateau near Westport.

It argued that the Environment Court did not give proper consideration to the possibility of there being two open-cast coal mines simultaneously working the area when it gave Bathurst the go-ahead.?

It said the effects of an unimplemented coal mining licence by state-owned Solid Energy for another mine, the Sullivan Mine, also on the Denniston Plateau, should have been taken into account, even though it’s not been used and expires in 2027.

Forest & Bird, along with the West Coast Environmental Network, said the cumulative effect of both mines operating at the same time were not properly considered.

But Environment Court judges ruled the possible open-cast Sullivan Mine did not form part of the existing environment since the licence has not been used.

Buller Coal Limited, owned by Bathurst Resources Ltd, rejected the environmentalists’ “narrow” argument, as did West Coast Regional Council and Buller District Council, which granted mine consents to Buller Coal last year.

In a 21-page judgement released today, High Court judge Justice John concluded there was “no material error of law in this decision not to embark upon cumulative effect analysis.”

The appeal was dismissed, and costs were reserved.