What will Sage do?

Stuff reports:

A new open-cast coal mine on the South Island’s West Coast has been granted resource consent, but critics say the project will push endangered species closer to extinction.

Rangitira Developments Ltd, which includes Stevenson Mining, holds the mining permit for the ridge on Mt Te Kuha, about 12 kilometres from Westport.

The open-cast coal mine will cover 144 hectares, including 12ha of conservation land, 100ha of the Westport Conservation Reserve and the remainder on private land. …

In the company’s application, Stevenson Mining chief operating officer Anne Brewster said the mine would create about 58 jobs. 

“The plan of having day-shift operations only at Te Kuha will mean employees will have to reside in the Buller District, which is beneficial to the community,” she submitted. 

The West Coast Regional Council granted the project resource consent on Tuesday, following a nine-day hearing before a three-person panel in September to help the various parties develop consent conditions together.

Regional council chief executive Mike Meehan said the council had undertaken an “extremely robust process” involving various experts, which assisted with the commissioners’ final decision.

The hearing process ensured the “very best outcomes for the community, the and are achieved”.

So the mine has resource consent. Now it needs the permission of the land owner.

Prime Minister Ardern said earlier this month there would be “no new mines on conservation land”.

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage said the policy related to new mines, so existing mines like the Te Kuha project would not be affected.

“The mechanism by which we implement policy is being developed and obviously taking advice and heard very clearly, [is] the need for clear guidance on applications that had already been lodged,” she said.

“We determine applications under the current law.”

One can only assume Sage will decline. But this may cause tensions with NZ First and their desire for regional development. Watch this space.

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