Plaman seeks to be party to Environment Court appeals

Further applications have surfaced of Australian would be diatomite miner Plaman Resources seeking to become a party to Environment Court appeal proceedings.

The Preservation Coalition Trust, Forest & Bird and Te Runanga O Otakau have applied separately to the Environment Court in Christchurch with appeals looking at several aspects of the Dunedin City Council's proposed second generation district plan.

In three separate filings obtained by the Otago Daily Times, dated January, Plaman has asked to be a party.

Issues for Plaman include the restoration of mine and landfill sites and proceedings about biodiversity values and vegetation rules.

In each of the applications, Plaman notes the issues "may affect'' its ability to develop, operate and sustainably manage the diatomite mine, near Middlemarch township.

On the Te Runanga O Otakau appeal, Plaman said land rehabilitation was more appropriate than restoration, as it could be considered site by site, and at present is achieved to high standards when applied.

On Plaman's opposition to the Forest & Bird appeal, it considered that protection of an "area of significant biodiversity value'' on private land should be through a "robust and full public participatory process'', as opposed to through the Environment Court appeals process.

Plaman's Australian representative was contacted last week about its intentions with the five separate mining permits it holds around North and East Otago, but did not respond to the email.

One permit covers the actual mine in Moonlight Rd and another the adjacent Foulden Hill farm the company wants to buy, which surrounds the mine.

According to data held by government permitting agency, NZ Petroleum & Minerals, Plaman has three permits under application for time extensions, and another for "change pending''.

Crucial to Plaman's proposed development and commercial operations is whether its application to buy the farm is given consent by the Overseas Investment Office, a decision which is pending.

However, pressure is building to save the fossil-laden area from mining, including opposition from the scientific community, environmentalists and the Dunedin City Council formally recognising the area as one of significance.

No Environment Court hearing date had been set, and all appeals initially go to mediation.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

It's bad enough that Aussies rip to pieces their country, but they want to do it in New Zealand as well, specifically Middlemarch. Where the DCC, local runanga, scientists and environmentalists are all on board together, and sit opposed to Plamans intentions.
If Plaman are allowed to mine in Middlemarch, why don't we just hand Australia the key, and put another star on our flag.

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