‘Environment West Coast’ to plug for mining industry

By Christine Linnell

A new lobby group calling itself Environment West Coast has emerged from a pro-mining meeting held in Westport earlier this week.
About 150 mainly business people gathered at the Westport Motor Hotel on Monday night for a meeting addressed by three mining professionals, including Minerals West Coast manager Peter O’Sullivan.
They said they were concerned that Bathurst Resource’s planned development of the Denniston Plateau coal reserves could be further delayed by Forest and Bird’s filing of an appeal to the Environment Court.
The meeting decided to form a lobby group to hammer home mining’s importance to the West Coast and New Zealand.
Environment West Coast interim chairman Brent Oldham said in a statement today they chose the name Environment West Coast “to represent the entire West Coast population and attempt to address issues that deal with the physical, social and economic environments of the region”.
“We are mindful that actions and statements made by parties on
either side of the debate during the bitter campaign to stop native logging in the mid 1980s caused significant rifts within New Zealand and our communities that took many years to heal.”
On Monday, Anthony Black told the public meeting his company, Geotech, used to employ 25 men at Stockton open-cast mine. It now employed one there.
“We’re feeling pretty bloody vulnerable about the latest Forest and Bird objection to the (proposed Bathurst mine) process.”
Environment West Coast’s objectives and campaigns will be presented to the public at a further public meeting on May 6, in Westport.