Bid to expand Canterbury coal mine meets stiff opposition

About 500 submissions have been received after a proposal to expand the Bathurst coal mine in the...
About 500 submissions have been received after a proposal to expand the Bathurst coal mine in the Malvern Hills was put forward. Photo: Supplied
Hundreds of people are opposing a plan to expand a Canterbury coal mine.

Bathurst Coal Ltd has applied to expand its opencast mine, known as Canterbury Coal Mine, at Bush Gully Rd, near Colgate, by 18ha.

An Environment Canterbury spokeswoman said it has received about 500 submissions on the proposal with the majority opposing the extension.

Rosalie Snoyink, who is a member of the Malvern Hills Protection Society, which made a submission against the proposal, said she is pleased there has been a large number of people weighing in on the plan.

“Clearly there is wide public interest and concern about the scale of the proposals,” she said.

Malvern Hills resident Brian Thompson said he opposed the expansion in his submission.

“I think it’s great there has been a large number of submissions. It means you will get a wide area of coverage.

“This proposal will have a big impact on the peace and quiet of our property which was one of the main factors in us buying it,” he said.

Bathurst Coal Ltd did not respond to questions.

The ECan spokeswoman said a date for a hearing is yet to be set, but it is required to be held within 75 days of the close of submissions, meaning it will be no later than September 2.

Thompson said he plans on speaking to his submission at the hearing.

Forest and Bird also submitted against the expansion of the mine. A spokeswoman said it is concerned about the ecological and environmental impacts.

“Freshwater contamination in the already stressed Selwyn Waikirikiri catchment, and the loss of native species and habitat, especially wetlands.

“We are not surprised at the number of submissions.

"We have had concerns about the expansion of Bathurst’s Malvern Hills coal mine for some time," the spokeswoman said.

ECan and the district council received an application to increase the opencast mine earlier this year.

The site is currently 52ha, of which 38ha is mined. Owner Bathurst Coal is seeking retrospective land use consent for existing and future earthworks.

Production at the site is currently 95,000 tonnes of coal per annum, which is sold for industrial and commercial use.






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