Briquette plant gains all consents

A composite  image of the planned Solid Energy briquette plant showing the bund to be built to...
A composite image of the planned Solid Energy briquette plant showing the bund to be built to screen the plant from Craig Rd, south of Mataura. Photo from Solid Energy.
Work is expected to begin this month on Solid Energy's briquette plant near Mataura after all of the resource consents it needs to build its pilot lignite conversion plant were granted.

The company obtained permits from the Environment Southland consents committee on Wednesday, allowing work to begin on its demonstration briquetting plant, expected to cost between $20 million and $25 million.

Solid Energy communications manager Sarona Iosefa said she expected earthworks at the Craig Rd site to begin in three weeks.

Briquette production is expected to start in mid-2012.

Environment Southland has issued permits to take and discharge water and discharge contaminants to air, and last month the Gore District Council granted land-use consents.

The latest consents allow Solid Energy to release contaminants to air from a 9MW boiler, the baking or drying of minerals and discharge about 49,000 litres of water a day into a disused mine pit.

Up to 58,000 litres of water a day can also be taken from a disused mine pit for wash-down and boiler use.

The committee unanimously approved the application for a consent period of 20 years.

Limited notification was given to 12 groups as part of the consent processes. Submissions closed on June 14, and only two submissions were received - from the Southern District Health Board and Dongwha Patinna NZ Ltd, which owns the nearby Mataura fibreboard plant.

Only those who made submissions can appeal Environment Southland's decision.

Neither submitter opposed the application but each raised its own concerns.

The Southern DHB sought conditions relating to the monitoring of carcinogens from the discharge of water into the Mataura River and Dongwha wanted complaint management protocols to allay concerns dust and noise complaints could be incorrectly attributed to them.

The site would also have a 4m-high bund topped with a 2m-high solid fence, with trees planted to help reduce dust discharge.

More than 25 consent conditions were attached to the permit, including one that stated trucks transporting coal and briquettes should be covered to reduce dust, in response to one of the major concerns raised by Mataura residents.

- helena.dereus@odt.co.nz

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