Three appeals have been lodged with the Environment Court of New Zealand against the mine’s resource consents, citing environmental concerns such as ecological damage from the proposed mine.
West Coast Environment Network said it would vigorously fight against the mine.
“We will do our best to be a force of reason to be reckoned with, and feel that this is the beginning of quite a prolonged battle and a rekindling of the mining debate,” WCEN said on its website.
In a statement, Bathurst Resources said a pre-hearing conference involving the appellants and the company would be scheduled by the appointed judge in due course.
The Environment Court will try to settle the dispute through mediation, which has been a proven method in the past.
Bathurst Resources chief executive officer Hamish Bohannan said he would try to find a workable solution to the issues raised.
“We will engage openly and in good faith with those who are concerned about our mine on the Denniston Plateau,” Bohannan said.
Bohannan was critical of the appellants, however, because he believed the money spent on legal costs could be used to rehabilitate and protect the West Coast environment instead.
Bathurst was aiming to begin mining on the plateau by the end of the year after it was granted the resource consent.
The Escarpment open cast coal operation, situated on the South Island plateau, could potentially produce up to 2Mtpa of coal.