Denniston too precious to mine

I am concerned that the interim decision of the Environment Court does not rule out the mining of the Denniston Plateau. The interim decision of the Environment Court acknowledges that the Denniston Plateau has high biodiversity values which would be impacted by mining and that the situation is too close to call.

Species that live on the denniston plateau
Some of the species that call the Denniston Plateau home. Source: Forest and Bird

However the decision then goes on to suggest that “appropriate and robust” conditions could address the risks to biodiversity. We are not convinced that any conditions on an open cast mine could mitigate the reality of a large hole dug deep into this unique ecosystem.

There are some places where the mining is a bad idea. A coal mine in the heart of the iconic Denniston area is a bad idea that many New Zealanders oppose. New Zealanders love our unique and awesome wild places and want to see them protected.

We will continue to call on all decision makers to refuse Bathurst Mines attempts to mine it.

9 Comments Posted

  1. There are some major points being overlooked in this discussion. The rehabilitation being undertaken by Solid at Stockton is world class and is able to promote the eventual restoration of forest vegetation. However, the ecosystem that is unique to the coal measures is the sandstone pavement, and this cannot be restored once the pavement is disrupted because the hydrology will be fundamentally altered. The plant assemblages which form after mining will be completely different and the unique sandstone landscape will be lost.

  2. I always wonder whether people actually believe this simplistic ‘either ecological destruction or living in a cave’ dichotomy, or wheter it’s just a stupid argument trotted out instead of thinking about things?

    We can of course, manage on considerably less steel than we now produce, and could produce a fair amount without using coal. Recycling the stuff in an electric arc furnace would keep us going for a fair while.

    And if the Stockton-style ‘environmental rehabilitation’ is world-classs, heavan help the world.

  3. @bjchip: The sooner dreamers such as yourself realise that the world we live in today is not possible without mining, especially coal which is a key ingredient in steel making, the better. As for the image posted by solkta, quite ironic that the picture is of the world class rehabilitation underway at the Stockton mine, rather than the so called “environmental devistation”. For those of you who would prefer to return of the days of the cave man, feel free to slander me to your hearts content. 🙂

  4. Biodiversity aside. Mining coal at all is a really really bad idea.

    There is no excuse for doing this. There is no excuse for having ANY coal mine in NZ…

  5. Yes Solkta, I did look at the submission. It reflects nothing at all of the reality of the plateau however.
    The area of land to be affected by any new mining is 200 ha. If you go up to the plateau the area affected by the old mining operations is vastly more than that. There were in fact three towns up there, of which Denniston was the largest, and the peak population was about 2000.
    There are mining remains all over the region.
    In theory it was an underground mining region. However in the latter stages it was hydro mined which is only nominally an underground operation, involving as it does using enormous quantities of sluicing water, with all the facilities on the surface.
    I would repeat my view however. If the environment there is considered worth preserving as it is now the century or so of operation clearly shows that the environment is vastly more resilient than the claims made about operating a small opencast operation.

  6. Too lazy to actually read the link alwyn?

    The adjacent Stockton Plateau has been half destroyed by opencast mining in the past few decades. The Denniston Plateau has a history of underground mining, but has been spared – until now – this fate.

    A new opencast coal mine proposed for the Denniston Plateau would destroy 200 hectares and increase New Zealand’s coal exports by up to 63% per year. But that would only be the beginning. The Australian company holds mining permits across the Plateau, which would generate an estimated 50 million tonnes of coal.

  7. This posting really doesn’t make any sense. Have you ever been to Denniston?
    The whole purpose of the town of Denniston was to be a coal mine. The incline, which carried coal down the hill operated from 1879 until 1967. It, and the remains of the mining operation, are the only reason anyone goes there today. to see it as a tourist destination. Indeed if it had not been mined I doubt that 100 people/year would bother to go there. There would of course be no road if the mine hadn’t existed.
    You say that it is a region of “high biodiversity values”. If these were not affected by a century of mining, when alleviating damage to the environment was never a consideration, why on earth should a small open-cast mine have any effect today? If on the other hand mining destroys the environment it must have already happened so why not continue to mine? You really cannot have it both ways.

  8. Denniston or elsewhere; minning(industry)doen’t provide any future for NZ economy, full stop!
    Only those lazy,greedy, brainless and heartless officials/businesses will believe minning is the good idea for NZ economy/environment despite the damage it causes…

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