Tag Archives: Coal Action

Mining decision a tragedy for Denniston plateau

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress release

The news that Bathurst plans to start mining at Denniston on 1 July is a tragedy for the stunning ecology of the plateau, Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA) said today.

“Not only is this a tragedy for the beautiful plateau, it is also a tragedy for the climate, as every new coal mine is stealing from our children’s future,” said Jeanette Fitzsimons, a spokesperson for CANA.
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Solid Energy layoffs more evidence coal won’t provide secure jobs

Press release 6 June

Coal Action Network activist at the now mothballed Mataura briquetting plant - supposed to provide local jobs, but didn't.

Coal Action Network activist at the now mothballed Mataura briquetting plant – supposed to provide local jobs, but didn’t.

Further layoffs expected today at Solid Energy’s Stockton mine are a warning that coal cannot be relied on for community prosperity and jobs says Coal Action Network Aotearoa (CANA).

CANA’s new report, Jobs After Coal – a Just Transition for coal mining communities, released two weeks ago, documents the reasons for the world-wide decline in coal mining and argues strongly that workers should not be left to bear the burden of redundancies.

Jeanette Fitzsimons, one of the authors, said “Coal prices are not going up again any time soon, renewable energy is getting cheaper all the time, and climate change means that most of the coal currently available to mine can never be burned anyway.”

“This is all part of the ‘perfect storm’ Don Elder talked of before he resigned.”

“It is urgent to set in place a planning process for communities that are most affected. This should have been done two years ago when the redundancies started, rather than waiting until even more families are suffering.”

“The latest layoffs make it clear that communities cannot rely on a boom and bust industry for their job security.”

A “Just Transition” would provide central government help for a community-led process to analyse where the skills of miners can be transferred to other industries and develop local economic development based on local skills and opportunities.

“It needs to involve all parts of the community – councils, business, unions, iwi, polytechs, ngos,  to plan a future after coal.”

The report provides some snapshots of what other communities overseas have done to reinvent themselves after coal mining, and concludes that the West Coast could do the same with some government resources.

Minister of Conservation should halt Denniston Plateau mining

Press release

The beauty of the Denniston Plateau.  Photo: Forest & Bird

The beauty of the Denniston Plateau that Bathurst may remove for nothing. Photo: Forest & Bird

Coal Action Network Aotearoa today called on the Minister of Conservation, Nick Smith, to not issue Bathurst Resources the DOC consent it needs to enter and operate its planned mine on the Denniston Plateau, in light of the company’s terrible financial state.

Bathurst has announced today that it is making 29 workers redundant and that it’s not going to mine coal at Denniston until international prices have recovered. However, it intends to go ahead and set up everything else on the plateau in readiness for mining.

This could include the removal of the “overburden” – the beautiful, biodiverse-rich landscape.

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Nationwide week of action calls on Westpac to stop financing climate change

DumpDennistonLogoCoalPress Release from Coal Action Network Aotearoa & 350 Aotearoa

Westpac banks right across New Zealand will be the focus of a week of action this week, calling on the bank to stop funding Bathurst Resources’ bid to mine the Denniston Plateau.

The campaign, organised by 350 Aotearoa and Coal Action Network Aotearoa, began at a leading branch of Westpac in Christchurch on Saturday with around 20 activists staging a “die in” (see YouTube video). Actions will begin rolling out in other centres today, and will continue until next Saturday, with a total of 13 different towns confirmed at this point.

Bathurst Resources plans to dig up to 84 million tonnes of coal from the West Coast’s beautiful Denniston Plateau that would add up to 218 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and have a devastating effect on the area’s unique ecosystem. Westpac is providing financial backing for Bathurst Resources.

‘Westpac has not responded to calls to live up to their own promises and stop funding climate change, so we’re calling on them to do so.  We don’t consider investing in coal mining is at all consistent with Westpac’s claims that it is ‘future proofing’ its business,” said Ashlee Gross of 350 Aotearoa.

Tim Jones of Coal Action Network Aotearoa said the two groups had recently met with bank executives for a discussion about the campaign.

“In our meeting with Westpac, it became very clear to us that their so-called ‘sustainability’ policy is more about PR than it is about real action,” he said.

At least 80% of fossil fuels reserves must remain unburned in order to keep global warming to 2 degrees. The World Bank and European Investment Bank have recently announced their intentions to stop lending to coal projects, based on climate change concerns

The groups have launched a website where the public can send letters to Westpac calling on them to ‘Dump Denniston.’. 1200 letters have already been sent.

There will be activities this week in Warkworth, Auckland (2), Hamilton, Tauranga, Gisborne, Wellington, Nelson, Motueka, Takaka, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill.

Join the event on facebook 

Newsletter July 2013

Kia Ora all

The last month or so has seen a number of revelations on several of our coal fronts.  From Solid Energy walking away from the briquetting plant in Southland to ongoing developments for Bathurst Resources’ efforts to start mining the beautiful Denniston plateau, it’s been hard to keep up with it all.  Yet still, none of them are digging up any more coal. Let’s try and keep it that way.

What’s in this update?

1.     Lignite briquetting plant

2.     Denniston update

3.     Bathurst, new neighbour in a small town

4.     Bill McKibben tour and divestment

5.     Auckland Coal Action’s fight against Fonterra’s coalmine

6.     Coming up:  Generation Zero’s “What’s the Holdup” Tour

7.     Film about “Bidder 70” coming to NZ

8.      International – and climate science catchup

9.     Other news and resources

1.  Lignite briquetting plant

The trials of the Solid Energy/GTL briquetting plant continue at Mataura, with Solid Energy announcing late last month that it will walk away from the plant.  The media covered little of this announcement, but you can find out a lot more about what’s been going on there from our press release on the day.

Given our network includes locals living near to the plant, we have been able to get a lot more information about what’s been going on there – a lot more than what the media’s been covering.  And none of it’s good.

We also managed to get, through the Official Information Act, a document showing us what we suspected: the GTL plant in North Dakota had a massive explosion and is now being dismantled.  So this technology remains experimental.  Why should beautiful Southland farmland be dug up so that GTL can continue to try out its dirty technology to sell it on to Indonesia?

Solid Energy sponsorship under scrutiny:  You may also have missed this article about the millions Solid Energy spent on sponsorship.  We call it buying out criticism and it’s something that most coal and oil companies do to stop local protest about their activities. Continue reading

Do the right thing, Fonterra: Quit Coal


Coal Action Network Aotearoa applauds Fonterra for no longer accepting milk from farms that have converted marginal land into dairy pasture using oil and gas drilling waste (known as “land farming”). Fonterra say the perception of a safe clean dairy industry was a factor in this decision.

It’s not a good look for Fonterra to collect milk from farms contaminated with toxic waste from the fossil fuel industry and they are right to stop that practice.

But if Fonterra are worried about perception, they should stop using coal in their milk drying plants. Fonterra milk comes at a terrible cost to the environment and the climate, tainted as it is with coal. Continue reading

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter October 2012

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If the New Zealand cricket team needs a new spinner to replace Daniel Vettori, they need look no further than mining industry lobby group Straterra. Perhaps because Solid Energy is in a tailspin and the mining industry has been coming under challenge all around the country in recent months, they have chosen to highlight a survey carried out, in somewhat mysterious circumstances, by Pauline Colmar, formerly of survey firm Colmar Brunton, which purports to show strong public support for mining.

However, on closer inspection, the survey was worded along these lines:

Survey company: Would you swim with sharks – if sharks didn’t bite?
Lots of respondents: Yes
Survey customer press release: “Majority of New Zealanders say they love swimming with sharks”
(notice the lack of options here for a respondent to say “hang on, but sharks DO bite”).

There’s more on that survey below. We have also more on Solid Energy’s troubles and their future plans; more on the forthcoming Powershift conference in December and 2013 Summer Festival in January; and the latest news on Denniston legal action.

Check out our international section that discusses the links between climate change and the horrific “Superstorm Sandy” in the US this week. Our thoughts are with the families of the people who died,  from the Caribbean to the US and Canada, and with those suffering in the devastation Sandy left in its wake. Continue reading

September Newsletter

Coal Action Network Aotearoa Newsletter Sept 2012

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Well, as your newsletter editor, I can officially say that I’m tired out. There are fifteen – count ‘em – separate items in this newsletter, and a number of those have sub-items.

There’s good news:

  • We announce a major new information resource on coal mines and coal projects in Aotearoa: the New Zealand section of Coal Swarm.
  • The legal system, in the form of the High Court, finally does something good on climate change.
  • The country’s alive with action: an occupation in Wellington, a protest in Auckland, stalls and conferences and meetings up and down the country, and two big events to look forward to: Powershift 2012 in December and the 2013 Summerfest in January.

And there’s bad news:

  • Solid Energy still wants to build a lignite-to-urea plant in Southland.
  • Steven Joyce is a fool, and what’s more, a fool who doesn’t understand the concept of ‘subjudice’.
  • Fonterra is planning a new coal mine near Auckland.

Most of all, there’s lots of news. And you’ll find it below.

Tim Jones
Coal Action Network Aotearoa

1. Coming Events
2. Coal Swarm: A New Resource on the New Zealand Coal Industry
3. Solid Energy Sheds Crocodile Tears, Steven Joyce Foams At The Mouth
4. High Court Throws Out Attempt To Discredit NIWA
5. The New Zealand Petroleum Summit: “Are You Ladies Here For The Summit?”
6. Summerfest 2013 Is On! 18-21 January 2013, Dolamore Park, near Gore
7. Powershift 2012: 7-9 December 2012, Auckland
8. Fonterra Is Planning A New Coal Mine Near Auckland
9. Taking A Stand On Otago University’s “Dirty Little Secret”: Lignite-Fired Boilers
10. We Don’t Allow Tobacco Sponsorship. Why Do We Allow Coal Sponsorship?
11. Regional Reports: Southland, Dunedin, Top of the South, Wellington
12. International News
13. Social Media Rivalry: Facebook Takes The Lead
14. Our Blog And Website
15. How To Donate To CANA

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