Takitimu key for Bathurst

West Coast coal mine developer Bathurst Resources achieved almost 80,000 tonnes of coal sales for the quarter to December, mainly from its Takitimu thermal coal deposit in Southland, which is being expanded.

An Environment Court decision is imminent, following a four-week appeal hearing late last year, contesting resource consents granted to Bathurst by two West Coast councils in August 2011.

The Buller project, above Westport, plans to mine 4 million tonnes annually of an estimated 94-million-tonne resource of specialist hard-coking coal, and is estimated to be almost a year behind schedule. More than $250 million has been spent so far.

Environmental organisations, including Forest and Bird, have contested the strip-mining proposals around the Denniston Plateau above Westport through several courts, highlighting its unique and irreplaceable bio-diversity. A separate appeal on the hearing of climate-change issues has now gone to the Supreme Court, to be heard about mid-March.

In early January, the Takitimu deposit was expanded, with a final payment of $7 million to purchase adjoining property, to improve the economics of the operation, a Bathurst quarterly report said yesterday.

Takitimu produced 62,497 tonnes of the total 78,031 tonnes of coal sales for the quarter to December, and the Cascade mine, near the Denniston plateau, produced 19,774 tonnes.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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