New Coast mine clears f inal hurdle

By Tui Bromley

Bathurst Resources plans to hit the ground running after yesterday finally winning its two-year Environment Court battle for the rights to develop an open-cast coalmine on the Denniston Plateau.
The court advised yesterday that it had granted resource consent for the project. However, the approval comes at a time when international coal prices are at rock bottom, leading to major cutbacks at Solid Energy and Australian coalmines.
Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan said today the plan now was to have men and machinery on site soon after Christmas.
It hopes to create up to 225 jobs in the construction phase and 400 when in full production.
Bathurst still requires approval for various licences but Mr Bohannan said they were administrative matters that should not hinder the start of production.
Up to 27 operating plans ranging from waste, lizard, snail and water management have to be reviewed and signed off by the councils before licence to enter the land will be granted.
“We’re literally only a few weeks away now,” Mr Bohannan said.
“Clearly, there is an opportunity for the decision to be appealed again, the difference now is the resource consents have been granted, so that doesn’t actually stop us working.
“Hopefully, they’re not appealed but it doesn’t actually stop us working, so we are now on the road and getting traction and moving very rapidly into production.”