A Gore district councillor no longer has a conflict of
interest after the completion of a joint concept study
between Solid Energy and fertiliser company Ravensdown.
The Gore District Council this week accepted Waikaka ward
councillor Bevin Watt did not have a conflict of interest now
that Ravensdown would no longer be involved with further
Since being elected two years ago, Cr Watt has been unable to
take part in discussions about lignite developments because
of the relationship between Solid Energy and Ravensdown, of
which he is a director.
Ravensdown is a farmer-owned fertiliser co-operative which
had been working with Government-owned Solid Energy in
investigating the feasibility of a lignite-to-fertiliser
plant in Eastern Southland.
Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said Solid Energy had confirmed there
was no formal relationship with Ravensdown. He said there was
potential in the future for Cr Watt to be in a position where
he had a conflict of interest but the council would deal with
any issues as they arose.
Solid Energy general manager lignite conversion Greg Visser
said the company and Ravensdown had completed a concept study
for a urea fertiliser plant that uses lignite mined in
"That study confirmed for both parties how important the
project is for Southland and New Zealand, and progressing to
a more detailed feasibility investigation is justified."
Mr Visser said both parties agreed that further feasibility
work would be undertaken by Solid Energy.
"Ravensdown remains interested in off-take arrangement to
meet the demand for urea in New Zealand and Australia."
Cr Watt said he was looking forward to discussions about the
project and the prospects it held for the district.
"I must say, that after having to come to grips as to why the
book was closed in respect to me taking part in, not only the
project itself, but all things to do with our Growth
Strategy, to find the book suddenly open is quite a relief,"