Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars

ACTION by protestors against Solid Energy since the end of 2004 has cost the New Zealand coal producer $NZ1 million, with the prediction costs will escalate if incidents continue.
Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars Protestors cost Solid Energy big dollars

Surveying snail population at Mt Augustus, Stockton opencast mine. Courtesy Solid Energy.

Angie Tomlinson

Solid Energy revealed the cost after a request was made by New Zealand’s Sunday Star-Times newspaper under the Official Information Act; and Solid Energy confirmed it had contracted the services of security specialists.

“We have to take security seriously in our business. We need to ensure that our staff and contractors work in a safe environment. We also need to protect our property and we need to minimise disruption to our business,” Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder said.

“Faced with an increasing number of incidents over the last two years, in which protesters have disrupted our business and potentially placed in danger our staff and contractors, we took the only option available – we brought in security consultants to advise us on how we can best protect our staff and our business. This should come as no surprise, particularly to the protesters who continue to engage in disruptive, and at times illegal, actions,” he said.

In the most serious incident in August 2005, two protesters chained themselves to a railway line near Christchurch and had to be removed by the police. Coal trains to Lyttelton were delayed, resulting in lost revenue of more than $200,000.

Solid Energy has also received a number of requests from anti-mining protestors, under the Official Information Act, for information about them held by the company. Solid Energy said it did not hold any information about any protesters, other than publicly available information and videos of protesters being handed out pre-emptive trespass notices and protesting at its sites.