Forest and Bird has lost the latest in a string of legal
challenges and appeals against West Coast mine developer
Bathurst Resources, which brings the two-year delayed project
a step closer to beginning production.
While Bathurst's cash position has slipped alarmingly during
the past year, recent capital raisings have boosted its cash
position. However, its shares continue to languish around
17c, a far cry from their mid-2011 high of $1.70, more than
double the listing price.
Bathurst has spent about $300 million preparing to develop
parts of Denniston plateau, above Westport, for open-cast
mining of export-quality hard coking coal.
Bathurst wants to ultimately extract one million tonnes of
specialist coking coal annually, while Forest and Bird has
argued the plateau has a unique and irreplaceable
However, the numerous legal challenges to consents given by
two West Coast councils more than two years ago have
restricted Bathurst's production to boutique mining of the
existing Cascade mine it bought on the plateau, and small
operations elsewhere in the lower South Island.
The Court of Appeal yesterday declined Forest and Bird's
application for special leave to appeal the earlier High
Court decision over the relevance of the adjacent Sullivan
permit, operated by neighbour Solid Energy, in the context of
Bathurst's resource consents for its Escarpment mine project.
Bathurst's shares, at a 13c year-low in June and 23c
year-high in June, were up more than 11% yesterday, trading
around 17c after the announcement.
Bathurst's managing director, Hamish Bohannan, said yesterday
the outcome was another positive decision for Bathurst.
''We now look forward to receiving our final approvals to
allow work to commence on the Escarpment project,'' he said
in a market statement.
Forest and Bird lost a recent Supreme Court appeal to have
global climate-change issues included in resource consent
applications, and is awaiting an Environment Court decision
on Escarpment resource consents, albeit the court has already
said it will probably grant consents but with further
About 14 months ago, Bathurst had almost $54 million cash in
hand, but that dwindled to $8 million by September this year.
However, it has been buoyed by $18.9 million from
institutional investors, then a further $6 million raised
from Australian shareholders.