Hope for Denniston

On Friday there was another step backwards for Bathurst Resources in their bid to open cast mine the Denniston Plateau. The High Court ruled that the Environment Court had been in error with some of their findings from their interim decision in March. This requires the Environment Court to re-evaluate several aspects of the original case taken by Forest and Bird.

Basically the High Court has ruled that the concept of “offsetting” by the mining company donating to pest control is not “mitigation” at the site of the mine. Essentially this means the effects of an open cast mine cannot be considered to have been lessened if money  is spent on other unrelated environmental activities. The $22 million for pest control in the Heaphy area and on parts of the Denniston plateau will not be considered as a mitigation for open case mining an iconic landscape.

The court has recognised the truth that species such as the great spotted kiwi and the green gecko, and the extraordinary landscape values of the area they want to turn into a huge pit will not benefit if their home is destroyed.

What happens next is anyone’s guess but Bathurst is relying on the Government to push this project through so they can get started and keep their offshore investors happy. They are also hoping that the Escarpment open cast mine will be the first of six on the plateau.

People on the West Coast know a coal company cannot be relied upon. As Solid Energy collapses and the world coal price becomes shakier the economics get fragile. Add to this the growing recognition that we must transition out of coal for the sake of our precious climate and we must protect biodiversity for the sake of our future.

The Denniston plateau incline and plateau could be a tourist attraction rivalling Punakaiki Rocks and Franz Josef. It is about vision and the courage to invest in sustainability, not holes in the ground.

9 Comments Posted

  1. I suggest that supporters of mountain top mining make a study on the effects of mountaintop removal in the USA where hundreds of mines have scarred the lives landscapes and waterways of local people.
    It appears that the extractive industry supporters trawl the green websites. Not surprising really as they are well resourced and generally lacking in ethics.
    I suggest that nobody believes anything that the greens say or advocate, as belief is often baseless and misused by ideologies. I suggest that greens would prefer that the points they raise on issues are thoroughly researched and fully understood with hazard identification and risk analysis with all options weighed and that intrinsic values are not subsumed by financial gains.

    Supporters of extractive industries would be well served by listening to the concerns of greens and do a literature search on the negative impacts of the industries of concern.

    Nationally and globally there is a long history of lies, misinformation, deceit and recklessness by dirty industry that continues to this day. The free market supporters legislate abrogation of responsibility from the offending industry onto the citizen through market choice. (externalising costs).
    Another means of abrogation of responsibility is to have collaborations and innovative partnerships (all free market speak)between industry, government, Maori, fake environmental groups and real environmental groups and other ‘stakeholders’ to provide the impression of a consensus while ignoring or making ineffectual avoidance, remedies or mitigation advocated by citizens to address adverse environmental effects.
    This is done to undermine the effectiveness of environmental groups while tying up their resources and personnel while creating an ‘impression of consensus’.
    Or to have so many organisations in a partnership to oversee a ‘voluntary agreement’ that responsibility is so broadly spread that ‘responsibility becomes porous’ with no one being held accountable and the spokesperson acting as a front for industry.
    To repeat the mistakes of your neighbours is not an indicator of intelligence, to deliberately imperil the health and well being of your neighbours is an act of treachery.

  2. It’s not over by a long way yet, but the reason Denniston is not developed is probably investment – the West Coast has a hig investment in their identity as mining communities despite all the uncertainty and an absence of weath after more than a century of mine. They need support to develop places like Denniston, neither DOC or the local community has money. There is a good historical interpretation at the top of the incline but no biodiversity information. To develop the incline for tourists into an exciting activity they need investment. Its not simple because the West Coast will always be a long way from major airports, but its a fabulous place and mining has not brought wealth!

  3. I welcome such good news although I wonder if this high court decision will stop this govt who is happy to murder our beautiful environment and great nature for their greeds… with same old trick to fool the public…oh look we creat some “lousy” jobs…while they cut jobs everywhere else…DTG!

  4. Oh, I get it now. I forgot to ask to get on Dave Stringer’s ‘white list’ (see Steffan’s post on spying) I will have to contact the security services on Monday, establish my credentials as a legitimate peaceful dissenter, then the GCSB will sort it all out, silly me.

  5. This is great news. The dumb greedy bastards must be stopped from destroying our environment and our climate in their quest for profit ahead of common sense. It is madness to ruin a unique ecosystem to dig up a product that is overheating the planet and acidifying the oceans. I commented last night, but my comment went to moderation and has not appeared even though I was logged in.

  6. Catherine says “The Denniston plateau incline and plateau could be a tourist attraction rivalling Punakaiki Rocks and Franz Josef. ”

    So can you explain why it isn’t, despite being accessible for the last century?

    Catehrine says “People on the West Coast know a coal company cannot be relied upon. ”

    That looks like a shallow attempt to pretend they don’t want the jobs.

  7. Yay! Good news. Thank you to everyone working on this. It’s a good battle to win. The dumb, greedy bastards must be stopped.

  8. “offsetting” by the mining company donating to pest control is not “mitigation”

    Nice work, team.

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