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Forest & Bird’s appeal against a proposed opencast coal mine will be heard at the Environment Court in Christchurch from next week. 

Forest & Bird appealed resource consents granted to Stevenson Mining in 2017, for a new proposed opencast coal mine at Te Kuha on the West Coast of the South Island.  

Photos and video footage of the area are available here

The Environment Court case had been on hold while legal proceedings relating to access to the public land required for the mine were underway (see notes).  

The Environment Court hearing begins in Christchurch on Monday 1 August and is expected to run for two weeks. Respondents to Forest & Bird’s case are the West Coast Regional Council, the Buller District Council, and Stevenson Mining Limited.  

Forest & Bird will be presenting evidence from ecologists Kelvin Lloyd, Justyna Giejsztowt, Victoria Smith, and Des Smith, economist Kevin Counsell, entomologist Brian Patrick, Forest & Bird planner Natasha Sitarz, and landscape architect Stephen Brown. 

Further ecological evidence will be heard from experts from the Department of Conservation, which joined the case in 2018. Coal Action Network has also joined the case.  
Media should contact the court if they wish to attend the hearing in person or via a Virtual Meeting Room which has been set up.  
Notes on land access:   

  • Stevenson Mining were refused access to the 12ha of public conservation land required for the mine in 2018, then lost a judicial review appealing that decision in 2020. 

  • In 2020 Forest & Bird won a case in the Supreme Court showing that the Buller District Council must comply with its obligations under the Reserves Act, in protecting the water conservation reserve area proposed for the mine. A timeline is available in the media release here.  

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