Nick Smith has announced:
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today announced his approval under the Crown Minerals Act for an access agreement for Bathurst Resources for its Escarpment Mining Project on the Denniston Plateau, near Westport.
“This approval is for an open-cast mine on 106 hectares of the 2026 hectares that comprise the Denniston Plateau. This area is not National Park, nor Conservation Park nor does it have any particular reserve status. It is general stewardship land, which is the lowest legal status of protection of land managed by the Department of Conservation. The area does have conservation values although there has been some disturbance from previous mining including roads, bulldozer tracks and an artificial reservoir. The area also has some infestation from weeds like gorse and broom,” Dr Smith said.
“The loss of conservation values is compensated by a $22 million package by Bathurst Resources. This will fund pest and predator control over 25,000 hectares of the Heaphy River catchment in the Kahurangi National Park, 4,500 hectares on and around the Denniston Plateau, as well as for historic projects on the Plateau itself. This is the largest ever compensation package negotiated by DOC for a mine or other commercial venture.
The Greens say they are not against all mining, just some mining. But what is the bet they condemn this decision despite $22 million for conservation.
It will be interesting to see what Labour says on this decision, and especially Damien O’Connor.