Environmental groups have been accused of stifling
development by the chairman of West Coast coal mine developer
Bathurst Resources - which is locked in an Environment Court
challenge at present.
At Bathurst's annual meeting in Sydney yesterday, chairman
Craig Munro thanked shareholders for their "ongoing patience"
and confidence in the company, which had been through a
challenging year with regard to various appeal processes, but
said he remained "optimistic" Bathurst would be in production
"This is obviously very time-consuming, costly and
non-productive from both the company's and the majority of
New Zealanders' point of view, but, under current
legislation, necessary," he said.
At the forefront of appeals are Royal Forest and Bird and the
West Coast Environment Network, which are challenging more
than 20 consents granted to Bathurst by West Coast councils
more than a year ago.
Mr Munro said, "We appreciate your continued [shareholder]
support and patience in a year that has seen us having to
focus on what seems like the never-ending appeals process
that allows minority groups to stifle development in New
The first appeal was mediated and withdrawn, then Bathurst
won a second appeal in the Environment Court, which ruled
that climate change effects were irrelevant in a challenge
against resource consents. This decision was subsequently
affirmed by the High Court but is now subject to an appeal to
the Court of Appeal. The third appeal is at present being
heard by the Environment Court over six weeks and a decision
is expected early next year.