Last August Bathurst was granted resource consents for Escarpment, prompting West Coast ENT, the Fairdown-Whareatea Residents Association and the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand to appeal the decision on the grounds of the mines environmental impacts.
This week’s pre-hearing conference was designed to lay down a formal timetable for the court hearing and establish key matters and submission items that are required to be completed before the court process begins.
Following the pre-hearing conference, three conclusions were made.
The Environment Court will hear the declaration on climate change in March while an additional pre-hearing conference will be held shortly after so the court can set a date for the hearing of the substantive appeal issue.
In addition to this, all parties need to submit an agreed statement of issues to the court by the first week of March, on which Bathurst will aim to provide its evidence to the court by June 1, 2012.
Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan said: “We are pleased with the outcomes from today’s pre-hearing, as the timing for the resolution of the appeals remains on track and we are hopeful for a hearing in the September quarter of 2012,” he said.
“The Environment Court is clearly giving the matter an appropriate level of urgency which is very encouraging.”
The Escarpment project is situated on the Denniston Plateau in New Zealand’s South Island and could produce up to 2 million tonnes per annum of coal.
Bathurst is anticipating the mine to be in production by the end of 2012.