Scaremongering from Forest & Bird

August 21st, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Nick Smith released:

Calls by Forest & Bird for the Department of Conservation to stop Bathurst Resources’ preparatory mining work on the Denniston Plateau because of smoke coming from an old mine shaft are ill-informed, Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith said today.

“The smoke is coming from an old mine shaft where low level underground fires have burned for decades. These fires also occur naturally in this rich coal field. These smouldering seams pose no significant threat and are left to burn naturally. Smoke appears periodically relative to atmospheric conditions and has done so for many years,” Dr Smith says.

“It is ridiculous for Forest & Bird to blame Bathurst for these fires and to demand any work stop before they are put out. The smoke is some kilometres from Bathurst’s escarpment mine. Forest & Bird should check with the Department and be better informed before making these sorts of public claims.

“This smoke from an old mine shaft just highlights the degree to which the Denniston Plateau has been previously mined and that it is not the pristine area that some claimed.  It reinforces the Government’s decision to allow the Denniston mine to proceed.”

So the smoke is from a location many kms away from where Bathurst is mining, yet Forest & Bird blame it on them. Anything for a headline!

Tags: , ,

West Coast miners furious at EPMU for donating to the Greens

July 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Greymouth evening Star reports that West Coast miners who are EPMU members are furious at the EPMU for donating $15,000 to the Greens, when they want the mining industry in NZ to die out. Over a dozen miners have complained.

You can imagine how galling it would be to have your union donate a portion of your salary to a party that wants to close down the industry you work in, and effectively put you out of a job.

Tags: , ,

EPA says no

June 19th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Investment in resource extraction from New Zealand’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone has taken a major knock today, with a decision-making committee of the Environmental Protection Authority rejecting an application from TransTasman Resources to mine ironsands off the seabed some 22 to 36 kilometres off the coast of Patea.

TTR issued a statement disclosing the rejection ahead of detail from the EPA, saying it was “extremely disappointed with the decision.”

The company spent some $60 million over seven years developing the project, which it believed could be achieved in an environmentally sustainable way and create additional exports of around $150 million a year from the export of around five million tonnes annually of titano-magnetite iron ore to Asian steelmills, using a suction dredging process that would have returned 90 per cent of the sands to the ocean floor.

“We have put a significant amount of time and effort into developing this project including consulting with iwi and local communities and undertaking detailed scientific research to assess environmental impacts of the project,” said TTR’s chief executive, Tim Crossley.

“Our objective has been to develop an iron sands extraction project which achieves substantial economic development while protecting the environment.

The EPA makes independent decisions, and they obviously didn’t feel comfortable approving the project.

It is a pity though as there was huge economic potential from ironsands, and the area being applied for was in Taranaki, well away from any well populated beach areas,

But at least it means those who claimed the new EPA process wouldn’t protect the environment can’t scaremonger any more on that.

Tags: ,

Colin Craig says

December 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Audrey Young interviews Colin Craig:

Increasing oil and mineral exploration

It’s almost criminal to be so well vested with resources and not use them. I wonder at the logic of that. I find it fascinating that if you dig a hole and plant a tree in it, you are a greenie; if you dig a big hole, take the gold out of the ground and plant a forest, suddenly you’re an eco-terrorist. There’s no consistency in that. I do think we should make sensible use of our resources. I’m not so keen, however, on letting foreign corporations take the lion’s share … Norway did it well.

Well said.

Labour’s target to get 50 per cent women MPs by 2017

I don’t believe positions should be picked on the basis of whether you are a man or a woman. I think it should be merit. I’m not a politically correct person. I despise political correctness because what it actually really does is just keeps people quiet. I would rather live in an environment where we could freely debate things.

Hear hear.

On the Maori seats and the Treaty of Waitangi

We think the Maori seats served a purpose at a time; that time is over. They don’t serve that purpose any more so we need to move forward and moving forward means getting rid of the Maori seats.

I think they should go, but only if Maori agree. What I would do is have a referendum every nine years on whether to keep them, amongst those of Maori descent. I’d replace them with the recommendations of the Royal Commission on the electoral system to have no threshold for Maori parties to gain List MPs.

Parliament now has 25 MPs of Maori descent. I doubt there is another Parliament in the world that has the indigenous minority so over-represented in their Parliament. I don’t think it is a bad thing we have such over-representation. But I do think it weakens the case for retaining the Maori seats.

Tags: , , ,

Good news for the West Coast

October 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Australian miner Bathurst Resources has hopes of gaining access to the Escarpment coal mining site by Christmas after receiving final Environment Court approval for the controversial project on West Coast conservation land.

The court’s final approval was granted yesterday. It had said on August 8 that it intended to grant consent to the Escarpment mine on the Denniston Plateau, near Westport. However, the approval may be appealed. An appeal must be lodged within 15 days. …

The Government welcomed the court’s decision, labelling it exactly the type of investment the country needed to create jobs and higher incomes.

The Green Party decried the sacrificing of the Denniston Plateau and its unique landscape and threatened species for an open cast coal mine.

Have you seen photos of the Plateau? It’s pretty ugly to be blunt.

The company was still confident of producing about 180,000 tonnes of coal from Escarpment by the end of June next year, Bohannan said. It would be taken by rail to Lyttelton and shipped from there, and also shipped from Westport to Taranaki for export.

Bohannan said the coal would end up in steel mills and other production facilities in Japan and China mainly. Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges welcomed the decision.

“The Escarpment Mine and associated works are expected to create 225 direct jobs and approximately $85 million each year will go to employees, suppliers, contractors and transport providers,” Bridges said.

“This is great news for the West Coast. The mine will inject almost $1 billion into the New Zealand economy over six years, and provide $30 million each year in royalties and taxes,” Joyce said.

West Coasters need jobs. This will provide them.

On a sort of related issue Stuff reports:

Raglan residents are fuming after learning that a United States oil company is a month away from drilling off their coastline the deepest exploratory well in New Zealand’s history.

Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation plans to begin drilling the well in 1500 metres of water before December.

Anadarko was held liable, with BP by a US judge for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The company paid BP US$4 billion to settle claims.

Raglan Fishing Charters’ Brian Hooker is worried about the environmental impact on marine life and is threatening to lead a fleet of boats to picket the Anadarko vessel the Noble Bob Douglas when it arrives at the end of next month.

Drilling will be carried out in water 1500m deep at the Romney Prospect in the Taranaki Basin about 100 nautical miles (204km) west of Raglan after the Government granted a licence in 2006.

So the exploration will be 204 km offshore. That is akin to the distance between Wellington and Wanganui.

I also note he licence was granted in 2006. Will Labour condemn the exploration?

The well will be New Zealand’s deepest and comparable to the Macondo well, which spilled an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico during 87 days in 2010 after an explosion that killed 11.

Don’t you love it when media report advocacy as fact. Who says it is comparable to the Macondo well? Is it also comparable to the 39,999 wells that didn’t have a spill?

Mr Hooker is angry no-one consulted the people of Raglan and asked his opinion before the licence was granted.

“People are going to get riled up. They [Anadarko] are going to get a lot of obstruction to that job.”

Anadarko would be in the neighbourhood for a short time but its activities would have a permanent effect, he said.

“It’s going to ruin the seabed and the sealife. It’s going to f…… change the ecosystem on that coast and for what reason? For gold.”

You would think the exploration is happening 2 kms off-shore, not 204 kms out to sea.

The Dom Post editorial is a good read also:

Instead it has been left to industry spokesman David Robinson to point out that Greenpeace’s worst-case scenarios take no account of the differences between the Gulf of Mexico and New Zealand’s waters or the technological developments since the Deepwater disaster. Here, unlike the Gulf, the most likely finds are gas and light condensate, not heavy black oil. Here, the pressure in underwater fields is typically so low gas and condensate have to be pumped out. At Deepwater Horizon oil spewed out. Then, a cap for the well had to be designed and built before it could be deployed. Now so-called “stacking caps” are kept at strategic locations around the world, available to be deployed at a couple of weeks’ notice.

None of that is an excuse for complacency. Immense damage could be done even by a seeping well in a couple of weeks. But nor is it reason to turn the country’s back on an industry that could provide a massive boost to the economy, generate a swag of high-paying jobs and swell stocks of a scarce resource.

Details most would be unaware of.

Tags: , , ,

Jones supports drilling and mining for Tainui

October 23rd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour economic development and Maori affairs spokesman Shane Jones, has applauded moves by Waikato-Tainui to explore the benefits of mining for oil and minerals.

The tribe is holding an “information sharing” hui today at Hopuhopu, and has invited members of the petroleum industry, government ministries, Waikato Regional Council and the Maori Land Court to teach them more about the sector.

Mr Jones reckoned the tribe’s investigations could prove a canny development.

“There is not an iwi in the country that does not want to see industry and jobs but we can’t be too picky or finicky as to where we find these jobs,” he said.

The issue of mining and oil exploration was shrouded with “emotionalism” but he said the decision for Maori should be made on sound science and fact.

“More often than not the factual information is hard to uncover because it is under layers of polemic.”

He said New Zealand’s environmental management framework was robust and would answer any environmental questions, and he called for the energy sector to work more closely with Maori.

It’s good to see Shane Jones say this, and he believes it.

But I don’t think we should assume Jones speaks for Labour on this issue. Their environmental and energy spokespersons go around condemning mining and drilling whenever they can.  It’s the old trick of different messages for different people.

Tags: , ,

Chatham Rock Phosphate to Gareth Hughes

September 24th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

An open letter from Chatham Rock Phosphate to Gareth Hughes:

You have publicly said you are not against mining per se and will evaluate each project on its merits. We wonder how much faith to put in that statement if the evaluation is based on so little consultation and so few facts.   If you have ruled out this mining project as well as countless others, are there any you do support?

Can anyone identify a mine that has not been opposed?

We’re astonished you have formed such a negative opinion about our project given the compelling potential environmental and economic benefits it offers and its minimal environmental impacts.

To remind you:

1. Chatham Rise rock phosphate, as an ultra-low cadmium direct-application fertiliser, has proven to be as effective as processed fertilisers while reducing run-off effects on New Zealand waterways by up to 80%. 

2. This resource provides fertiliser security for farming by providing a local alternative source.  Most rock phosphate used to make fertiliser now is imported from Morocco.

3. Moroccan rock phosphate is high in cadmium, involves high transport costs and has a significant carbon footprint.

4. New Zealand is predicted to be $900 million richer as a result of our new industry and we’ll be generating annual exports or import substitution of $300 million, plus supporting farming, our biggest earner.

5. By area, the economic value of the phosphate resource is 500 times greater than fishing; it is expected to yield $9.1 million per km2. In contrast, bottom trawling yields less than $20,000 per km2.

So while our operations will have some environmental impacts, they also offer very significant environmental and economic benefits.

The TV3 news item noted your alliance with the fishing industry is an unlikely one.  I agree, given bottom trawling’s massive environmental impacts and lack of environmental oversight.

So the Greens are so anti-mining, they prefer bottom trawling to it!

Our proposed mining operation is subject to a rigorous environmental evaluation and monitoring process. The story that should be getting your attention is not the potential environmental impact of our project, but the freedom of the fishing industry to devastate as much of our EEZ as they like (currently about 50,000 km2 per year, or 385,032 km2 or 9.3% of the EEZ since 1989) with no environmental oversight or monitoring.

We wouldn’t consider extracting phosphate nodules from a very limited area of the Chatham Rise if we expected it to cause more than very minor environmental impacts. Our operations will lift the top 30cm of sandy silt and redeposit 85% of it on the same area of seabed after extracting the nodules. Modelling indicates the material returned will not be widely dispersed, and the sediment that doesn’t immediately settle will rapidly dilute to insignificant levels.

Our draft environmental impact assessment (EIA), supported by more than 30 expert reports, has identified no long-term impacts on key spawning, juvenile and young fish habitat. Any potential impacts are predicted to be confined to our limited extraction areas, and are short-term, reversible, and of low environmental risk. 

But while bottom trawling – ploughing vast tracts of the EEZ seabed decade after decade – requires no environmental consents, our project needs a mining licence and a marine consent. These cost millions of dollars, require years of research, consultation and official process, and involve full public scrutiny.

Chatham’s planned 15-year extraction project will touch a total of 450 km2, far less than 1% of the Chatham Rise.  In contrast, over the same period fishing will bottom trawl 750,000 km2, about three times the size of New Zealand.

This reinforces my view that the Greens tend to be knee-jerk against any new project, rather than treat them on their merits.

UPDATE: Gareth Hughes has responded in the comments.

Tags: , ,

The sectors some on the left want to close down

September 5th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The oil, gas and mining sector is the most productive sector in the economy, with workers earning an average of $105,000 a year and generating $333 for each hour worked, a government report shows.

Yet this is the sector that the Greens and some in Labour want to close down. We have Labour leadership candidates saying they want higher wages yet opposing anything that allows for more drilling or mining.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said oil and mineral exports, excluding coal, were worth $2.8 billion last year.

That’s almost as much as the promises made by the leadership candidates this week!

“If we want more and better-paying jobs and more money to invest in our schools and hospitals, then we need to keep making the most of our abundant energy and minerals potential through environmentally responsible development,” Joyce said.

Or we can just print money!

However, the government report shows the petroleum and minerals sector, including gold, coal and aggregates, generates $333 an hour worked based on the GDP for the sector divided by the number of hours paid. That compares with the average of just $48 for each hour worked.

And workers are paid on average $105,000 a year – more than twice the New Zealand average.

Filthy rich pricks! Tax them more!

Also in the Dom Post:

Driven by booming dairy prices, New Zealand’s terms of trade raced up almost 5 per cent in the June quarter as export prices rose at the same time as import prices dipped.

Another sector many on the left claim is bad for New Zealand and must not be allowed to expand!

It was the largest quarterly rise in the terms of trade in two years, as dairy prices rose 14 per cent in the June quarter.

More filthy rich pricks!

Tags: ,

All as bad as each other

June 24th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald asks the main Ikaroa-Rawhiti candidates for their views on some issues:

Meka Whaitiri: Until we have some sound research that says [mining] doesn’t have any environmental impact, I can’t support that.
Marama Davidson: Ban it! Risky off-shore drilling, mining and fracking are all industries we want to get away from. Today we are releasing a package of green jobs for Ikaroa-Rawhiti that don’t ruin our environment.
Na Raihania: I am absolutely opposed to mining and drilling our Mother Earth. And this idea it will provide jobs for everybody is stretching it.
Te Hamua Nikora: As far as mining goes, we say frack off. No thank you.

So all four candidates want the entire mining and oil industry in New Zealand closed down, putting close to ten thousand people out of work and knocking more than two billion dollars off NZ’s GDP.

Biggest issue in the electorate
Meka Whaitiri: Jobs.
Marama Davidson: Jobs and protecting the environment and wanting jobs that don’t ruin the environment.
Na Raihania: Mortality rates are high, education … but employment, I guess, and our social status.
Te Hamua Nikora: Poverty, stemming from unemployment, and a lot of health issues coming from poverty and poor housing.

So in one sentence they all say they are against all mining, fracking, drilling and in the next they all says jobs and unemployment is the major issue. Idiots, all of them.

Tags: ,

Labour on Denniston

May 29th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Letter

 

How curious. Labour MP Damien O’Connor is writing to the Minister urging him to do whatever he can to get the mine approved, and to battle against Forest & Bird.

Yet Labour MP and environment spokesperson Maryan Street has said the coal should be left in the hole.

Typical Labour trying to be all things, for all people.

Can anyone from Labour answer the question. What is the official policy of the Labour Party of whether or not the Denniston mine should be approved?

Tags: , ,

Laws on Denniston

May 26th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Michael Laws writes in the SST:

In the wake of the Government’s commonsense decision to allow opencast coal mining on the Denniston Plateau, it was no surprise that the greenie lobby would scream betrayal.

The mining will occur on conservation land – a title that means not much except that no-one lives there, and no-one wants to.

The mine will occupy less than 5 per cent of the total Denniston conservation area, which doesn’t have national park status.

More importantly, the approval granted to Australian miners Bathurst Resources will create more than 400 jobs, rejuvenate an emaciated economy and add some extraneous conservation measures like a 35-kilometre predator fence. In short, it’s a win-win.

Not so, shouts the green faction – supported by the Labour Party nay-sayers. The latter are simply in anti mode – the psychological pit that you can get into when in opposition for too long. In government, they would have done this deal in a heartbeat.

They call out for jobs, yet have opposed pretty much every job creation project in the last four and a half years.

No, the real saboteurs here – the real betrayers – are the environmentalists. For too long their selfish sentiments have robbed New Zealanders of projects and jobs.

Their only answer is that huge sectors of New Zealand should stay as they are because they have always been like that. They oppose any and all extractive industries – from coal to oil to mining – anything that has the potential to endanger their utopian nothingness.

Indeed, the pervasive theme that emanated from the Denniston greenies this past week – including the increasingly hysterical Forest and Bird Society – is that coal is bad. Evil, even.

This mine could have been located in an industrial wasteland – they still would have objected.

That is a key point. They are not opposed to mining in certain areas. They oppose mining everywhere and anywhere. They have a quasi-religious belief that it is wrong to extract minerals from the Earth.

In fact, the quality of the Denniston product is amazing. Even at the current depressed prices, the project makes financial sense to Bathurst Resources because of that quality. Most of it will go straight to China – to fuel its staggering growth and provide energy for its latest power station and steel developments.

For the greenies to try to halt China’s almost linear expansion, by trying to derail this West Coast project, makes King Canute look like a veritable sage by comparison.

The coast has been mining high quality coal for well over a century – if it doesn’t provide such fuel, then another country and economy will.

Meanwhile, there will be a shiver of upset in some urban liberal quarters that such mining occurs. Their best collective idea is not to export coal – but to export Kiwis. To any economy that offers jobs, because neither the West Coast – nor New Zealand for that matter – offers sufficient skilled manual work.

So the greenies will do what their Pavlovian urges demand. They will clog the courts with their useless petitions to try to delay, obfuscate and upset. Knowing that they don’t have any legal chance of upsetting Conservation Minister Nick Smith’s decision.

They will even parade New Zealand overseas as some sort of environmental pariah.

And that is sabotage of the worst sort – if they can’t get their way then they will attempt to bring the whole house down. They must be condemned as the irrational zealots that they are.

The challenge for those opposed to mining at Denniston, is can they point to a single mine in NZ that they do support?

Tags: ,

Jobs for the West Coast

May 23rd, 2013 at 12:54 pm by David Farrar

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.

Tags: , , ,

Poor West Coast

August 30th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The West Coast has been dealt another “devastating blow” and hundreds of jobs throughout the country are set to be slashed after state coal miner Solid Energy announced plans to move away from underground mining.

Three hundred and seventy miners and contractors at the Spring Creek Mine are in limbo after the state-owned energy company announced the suspension of operations at the mine yesterday.

The Huntly East underground mine in the Waikato will cut 63 staff and 60 contractors because the company is stopping further development. Another 65 staff at the Christchurch head office and 17 staff from other parts of the business are also in the firing line.

What an awful blow. Hopefully it may reopen, but far from certain.

Tags: ,

Labour says mining views are close to National

July 30th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

NZ Herald reports:

Labour’s finance spokesman, David Parker, says his party’s policies on oil, gas and mineral extraction are close to those of the Government.

“I don’t think we are much different from National,” Parker said. “They’ve continued on with the programme that we started in respect to oil and gas,” he said yesterday after a breakfast for the Mood of the Boardroom survey in which chief executives expressed strong support for mining.

“We think that mining outside the Schedule 4 areas is appropriate.

“There need to be appropriate environmental controls around risk minimisation.”

That is interesting positioning from Labour. I think they are worried that National has been striking a chord with its lines that you can’t complain about the gap with Australia and also oppose the very activities that are fueling their growth.

Whether this is an actual change of policy for Labour is unclear. They did vote against the EEZ legislation.

The other issue is that there is no way Labour can form a Government without the Greens, and it is inevitable the Greens would veto pretty much any new mining or drilling activity.

Tags: ,

Labour on clean and green

July 5th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Grant Robertson has put out this pamphlet, which really needs a response. It is hard to know where to start, so let us take them in order.

Climate Change

Labour is great on rhetoric, but crap on results. In 1999 NZ’s gross emissions were 67,395 CO2e. Under nine years of Labour gross emissions went up 10% to  74,198  (and net emissions went up 13.4%). In the first two years under National gross emissions dropped 3.4% to 71,657.  There was a failure to deal with climate change -Labour’s. Under National we are set to come in under our Kyoto Protocol target.

Labour’s policy blunders saw 30,000 hectares of deforestation in their fianl three years.

Maritime Disasters

This is a reference to the fact that National did not pass a law to give effect to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage that would have doubled the liability of the Rena’s owners from $12m to $24m.

What Grant omits to mention is the convention was adopted in 2001, and Labour didn’t legislate for seven years on it, and the Labour Cabinet gave the legislation the lowest priority rating. Sure with perfect hindsight would have been good for National to have passed it, but for Grant and Labour to claim not passing the law has dented our clean green image is stupid. The impact of not having changed the law is potentially fiscal, not environmental.

EEZ environment

National has in fact passed a law to give give environment protection to the EEZ. Previously there was no protection at all. One can dispute the balance in the legislation, but again ironic and rich for the party that did nothing to protect the EEZ to be saying that actually passing a law to protect the EEZ damages NZ’s clean green reputation while having no law at all, bolstered it!

46 wells were drilled in the EEZ under Labour – all without any legislation at all to protect the environment.

Mining conservation land

Oh my God, National put out a discussion document on mining. Oh yeah, I am sure that really undermined NZ’s clean green image – a discussion document.

And do I even have to mention that Labour approved 218 permits for mining on conservation land – all done without harming NZ’s clean green image. You see in Labour world, it is only bad if National talks about it. It is good when Labour does it.

MFE Funding

Now this is just getting silly. No funding has been cut for environmental activities. The $1.75m budget cut was for 12 admin staff, after a review found their admin/non-admin staff ratio was 1:10 and in most agencies it was 1:20 to 1:40.

In Labourland, I guess there are hordes of foreign tourists thinking about coming to New Zealand because of its clean green reputation, and they decide not to come because 12 admin staff were got rid of in the Ministry for the Environment!  Really, what planet do they think people live on.

I guess it is easy to stick five nonsensical bullet points on a postcard with a lovely picture as a backdrop. Far harder to actually have a track record that comes anywhere close to matching your rhetoric. I’ll take substance over rhetoric any day.

Tags: , , ,

Hoping for poverty

July 2nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Nelson Mail reports:

Gold at Sams Creek in Golden Bay is now estimated at more than one million ounces, and worth about $2 billion – and that is just a start.

An announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange from the company exploring the area, MOD Resources, has revealed the gold resource at Sams Creek has been increased by 33 per cent to 1.024 million ounces.

With the price of gold in New Zealand dollars about $2000 an ounce, that is worth around $2b.

Significantly the company noted that gold was all contained within an 800-metre strike length of the main zone prospect, which represented less than 15 per cent of the known 6km strike length of the Sams Creek dyke.

That means there is potential for the gold resource to increase markedly.

Excellent.

She said Forest and Bird did not want the company there but it would woo local people with jobs which were hard to come by in Golden Bay.

Evil jobs. How dare they “woo” people with jobs.

“Hopefully the price of gold will come down so it will not be economic for them to mine

Praying for poverty I call this.

The Greens have said they are not against all mining, just all coal mining. Will there ever be an actual mine though the Greens do not oppose? Is their view that of Forest & Bird on this mine?

Tags: ,

So much for not against all mining

June 20th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Russel Norman said:

 Mr Norman said that though the party would not support any new coal mines it did not oppose any new mines for other minerals.

The BOP Times reports:

 Green Party members worried about gold mining in Te Puke are to meet locals to discuss what they see as potential risks to the community.

Not against all mining – yeah right!

Note that the Greens are meeting locals. So this is a bunch of people who do not live in Te Puke heading down there to interfere.

Diamond drilling and exploration mining for gold and silver was already under way at Muir’s Reef mine on No.4 Rd, 15 minutes drive from Te Puke township. …

Glass Earth is the company involved in the operations in No.4 Rd. Chief operating officer Simon Henderson said the area involved was farmland and nobody would be displaced by mining and no areas of significant natural value would be destroyed.

Mr Henderson said the company had no plans to expand to a large gold mining operation but had received “encouraging results”, allowing for mining to continue until at least the end of this year.

The only community feedback on the set up of a potential goldmine had been positive, despite concerns raised by the Green Party, he said.

“Te Puke is struggling with the devastating effects of Psa which has left a large hole economically and socially with many people leaving the area.

“Gold mining is a golden opportunity for Te Puke to have a new stream of development which does not rely on kiwifruit and will inject jobs and money into the local economy,” Mr Henderson said.

I suspect not many people who actually live in Te Puke will want to say no to jobs and income.

Tags: ,

Greens and mining

June 3rd, 2012 at 9:06 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Meanwhile, Greens co-leader Russel Norman said at the party’s national conference yesterday that the party would not scrap all mining if elected because it was an “inescapable” part of the New Zealand economy. Norman said Greens wanted each new mining operation to be considered on a case-by-case basis under a strengthened Resource Management Act.

On the surface, this is a welcome move. It is good they don’t want to turn Taranaki and the West Coast into barren jobless locales. However I do wonder if this is a change of rhetoric, not substance.

Let’s take the last ten years as an example. Can any Green MP point to a significant mining permit granted in the last ten years that the Greens would have allowed?

Tags: ,

Greens and Waihi

March 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Green Party is being accused of politicking and hijacking compensation negotiations between Newmont Waihi Gold and the local community.

But local MP Catherine Delahunty says there is widespread disapproval of the multinational company prospecting throughout the Coromandel Peninsula and people see Waihi as “an object-lesson”.

There may be disapproval from some people in the wider Coromandel, but how much from Waihi locals? I seem to recall a story a while back about how many people there are dependent on mining for their jobs, and in fact would like more jobs.

Placard-waving protesters who had arrived from Tauranga to Colville marched on Newmont Waihi Gold’s office yesterday to raise concerns about the company’s expansion plans for its operations on the peninsula.

So these protesters came from cities such as Tauranga, to speak on behalf of the people of Waihi?

Ms Delahunty said there were concerns that Newmont had permits to explore for gold in over 40,000ha of land in the Coromandel – including in areas of Schedule 4 conservation land.

You can’t apply for a mine, unless you have done some initial exploration. The impact from exploration is quite minor, as I understand it.

Ms Delahunty said mining was an unsustainable “finite industry” and would affect the peninsula’s $360 million-a-year tourism industry.

Nonsense. Sure there are some places you would not stick a gold mine, but I doubt a single tourist would choose not to come to the Coromandel because of some mining. Hell, on the West Coast the mines are actual tourist attractions.

And yes it is a finite industry, but probably will be around for the next 100+ years and during that time it will feed a lot of families who need jobs. Mining jobs tend to be higher paid jobs too.

Tags: , ,

Shane Jones saying sensible stuff

January 31st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

The Labour Party says it might come as a revelation to some that not all Maori are opposed to mining and oil drilling.

Maori Economic Development spokesperson Shane Jones says there is a fossilised view that Maori aren’t interested or capable of making pragmatic decisions.

While he acknowledges there are been pockets of resistance, Mr Jones says there’s a variety of views – not a monolithic one.

He says oil is the country’s most costly import – a resource within Aotearoa.

What refreshing views from a Labour spokesperson. It would be great to see Labour come out with a policy supporting more use of our natural resources.

Tags: , ,

Open cast mining at Pike River

March 15th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

State-owned Solid Energy, if successful with a bid, would probably look to develop the mine in a joint opencast/underground approach. It would need to get part of the surrounding land removed from schedule 4 protected conservation land for opencast mining. Access would be difficult and so would resource conditions.

If Solid Energy do buy Pike River, I hope the Government does make it possible for them to carry on mining there, in the safest way possible. If that means moving a couple of hectares out of Schedule 4, then so be it.

Rodney Hide at the weekend seemed to have ESP with his call:

ACT leader Rodney Hide is calling for open-cast mining at Pike River and on protected conservation land.

State-owned Solid Energy should be allowed to open-cast mine Pike River, to access an estimated $10 billion of resources, he said. “It seems to me it will require a great deal of care and sensitivity. But I can’t see how not continuing their [the miner’s] work respects them.” …

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn backed Mr Hide’s call for open-cast mining at Pike River.

“Yeah, Rodney Hide is correct. We need to get on with it and we need to do it in a way that will safeguard the environment and at the same time get economic development.”

It looks like it might happen, which is good.

Tags: , ,

Joseph Dunbar

November 23rd, 2010 at 8:18 am by David Farrar

All the 29 dead or trapped miners have been named, and all of them will have family and friends in grief over what has happened.

The story of Joseph Dunbar is arguably the saddest of all the miners. The day of the explosion was his first day in the mine, being the day after his 17th birthday. In fact he was not meant to start until Monday but was so excited, he was allowed to start on Friday. What a cruel irony.

Tags: ,

Pike River Day IV

November 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

NZPA report:

Prime Minister John Key says he is praying that the 29 men trapped at Pike River are safe.

“I just pray to God that they are alive,” he said.

“Obviously we need to begin a rescue as soon as we practically can, and we just pray that they have managed to secure an oxygen source.”

I think many NZers have also been praying for a good outcome. The news is not promising sadly, based on a blast survivor:

“Because I wasn’t as far up … the explosion wasn’t as bad for me. It just bowled me over and knocked me unconscious and someone dragged me about 300 metres, brought me around and then two of us held each other to get out of the mine.”

Mr Smith described the explosion as quick and without heat or smell.

“I just remember seeing a flash of something in front of me and then the concussion hit me. It wasn’t just a bang. It just kept coming, kept coming, kept coming.

“So I crouched down as low as I could in the seat to try to get behind this metal door [on the loader he was driving] to stop being pelted with all this debris …

I just couldn’t breathe and that’s the last I could remember and then someone found me about 15 minutes or so later.”

Mr Smith said the next thing he remembers is looking out of the ambulance as it was driving into Greymouth.

The concussion must have been very severe for those further in.

It must be awful for the families who are hoping for the best, but also getting prepared for the worst. Hopefully today there may be a resolution.

Tags: ,

The Pike River tragedy

November 21st, 2010 at 9:40 am by David Farrar

I think most people felt their hearts get a little heavier, as the news filtered out that the testing in the mine indicates that there is probably a fire down there.

I’m not sure anyone will be entering that mine today. If they did, it seems it would probably just be increasing the death toll.

Tags: ,

The Pike River explosion

November 19th, 2010 at 7:25 pm by David Farrar

2115: The earlier report of one fatality remains unconfirmed. Gerry Brownlee has just said there are no confirmed or official fatalities at this stage.

1950: Five out, 24 thought to be still in there

1934: TVNZ reports three other miners are making their way up.

1932: Two more fo reund injured, but alive. Injuries are moderate.

Like many I am glued to Twitter waiting for news from the Pike River mine. We are all hoping there are no deaths but sadly there have been some reports that there is one confirmed casualty at this stage.

The number of miners unaccounted for ranges from 27 to 36.

My thoughts are with all those down on the West Coast awaiting news. It must be awful not knowing anything solid yet.

Please keep this thread free of politics.

Hopefully we will have more news shortly.

Tags: