INDEPENDENT NEWS

Investors see NZ as 'too green' for coal projects: Bathurst

Published: Mon 3 Sep 2012 03:21 PM
Investors see NZ as 'too green' for coal projects, Bathurst says
By Pattrick Smellie
Sept 3 (BusinessDesk) - Resource consents have cost would-be opencast coking coal miner Bathurst Resources $15 million so far, with a month of appeal hearings still to come and the potential for further challenges.
Bathurst chief executive Hamish Bohannan released the figure during in a speech to last week's AUSIMM mining industry conference in Queenstown, where reports suggest the mood of the mining community was sour on the environmental opposition and regulatory hurdles facing their industry.
The speech notes were released to the NZX today, coinciding with an 8.5 percent fall in the Bathurst share price to 43 cents, down almost two-thirds on the $1.22 a share high point seen in the last 12 months.
Bathurst has spent some $250 million to date developing its Buller Coal Project, to take high grade coking coal, used in steel-making, from the Denniston Plateau above Westport for export.
Bohannan has taken heat from his mainly Australian investor base, who were originally sold on the project because it involved world-class, high-value coal and was close to infrastructure, and its shares have sunk to around a third of their value at the highpoint.
He said New Zealand was gaining a reputation among foreign investors of being "too green" for resource projects.
The company received resource consents in August last year for the first stage of the project, the Escarpment mine, which is projected to produce one million tonnes of coal a year at its peak. However, appeals by local and environmental groups have been lodged, with Environment Court hearings due in late October, and a decision early next year.
Bohannan said investors expect environmental groups to "appeal any new mining decision" and believe that "New Zealanders on the whole oppose coal."
They also see the court system as creating "indefinite delays" with "no other option for consenting."
"The regulatory processes here are too complex," he says in his speech notes, which note the Escarpment initiative is now 18 months behind intended schedule, with mining next July the earliest likely start time.
Gold mining executives have also grumbled about the growing cost of mining in New Zealand at the conference, which came in the same week as state-owned coal miner Solid Energy announced it was moving away from high-cost underground mining to opencast operations, with the likely closure of the Spring Creek coalmine and a halt to development of its underground operation at Huntly East.
(BusinessDesk)
BusinessDesk
Independent, Trustworthy New Zealand Business News
The Wellington-based BusinessDesk team provides a daily news feed for a serious business audience.
Contact BusinessDesk
Email:

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Understanding DDoS cyber attacks – Expert Reaction
By: Science Media Centre
FMA sees spike in investment scam complaints since COVID
By: Financial Markets Authority
Strong export growth narrows current account deficit to $3B
By: Statistics New Zealand
GDP rises in the June 2021 quarter
By: Statistics New Zealand
$350 Million Plant To Deliver Renewable Energy-from-waste Considered
By: South Island Resource Recovery Limited
Olam confirms plans for commissioning of NZ dairy plant
By: Olam International
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media