Miner’s Monthly: May 2021

Government coal boil ban challenges

If government this government implements its policy proposals as drafted, coal boilers in New Zealand industry could be a thing of the past within the next two decades.
The discussion document, ‘Phasing out fossil fuels in process heat’ is the fourth document of its kind in the past in just over two years. Documents of this type have been published in January 2019, December 2019, by the Climate Change Commission as recently as February this year (and submissions are still being reviewed).

The government is proposing to ban all new coal boilers, and phase out existing boilers no later than 2037 under proposed changes to the Resource Management Act, essentially through the consenting process – the proposal is effectively to deny new consents for coal boilers for low and medium temperature (everything under 300°C) by 2037.
This would capture every boiler in the South Island currently using coal for space heating, hothouse growing, dairy product manufacturing, and meat processing.

Minerals West Coast’s submission can be read below.

No new mines on conservation land progress in the background

After years of inaction since the November 2017 pledge that there would be no new mines on conservation land evidence suggests the government is still moving to implement the policy, however slow such movement may seem.

Documents released this month to the Greymouth Star under the Official Information Act have shown up to as recently as March this year both the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Business, Innovation, and Employment have been working on progressing the policy.

These documents show the progress to date has been slow due to a lack of agreement within government, and a desire to clarify the status of stewardship land.

Minerals West Coast has prepared a breakdown of the most relevant parts of the documents released, available below.

A good example of why access to conservation land is vital for all resources, be it coal, gold, rock and aggregate, is covered in the latest instalment of Mining matters on Minerals West Coast’s YouTube channel.

Reefton gold field exploration in the spotlight

As Federation Mining progresses its three kilometre long journey underground to establish its mine at Snowy River, activity in the Reefton Goldfield is in the headlines.
Other companies, such as Reefton Gold, and Siren Gold, are also actively carrying out exploration programmes to find gold deposits in the area.

This month NZ Herald reporter Kate McNamara visited the West Coast to cover the ‘mini goldrush’ underway in the Buller. The article is available here for those who have a subscription to the NZ Herald.

Still time to register for upcoming Reefton field day

A field day in mid-June is fast approaching, but it’s not too late to register. Minerals West Coast is running a field day to visit mine sites in the Reefton area on Wednesday the 16th of June.

The field trip will visit local coal mines, looking at mine site management of health and safety, water treatment, and rehabilitation on conservation land. In the afternoon, Minerals West Coast will visit Federation Mining’s Snowy River mine site for a look at how the three kilometre tunneling project is progressing.

If you’ve been thinking of attending and haven’t registered yet, or just want to know more, check out the details.

Managing the risks of drug and alcohol use for mine sites

This month The Drug Detection Agency put on a workshop at Tai Poutini Polytechnic to enable miners to manage and respond to drug and alcohol abuse in the mining industry.
Therese Gibbens of the Drug Detection Agency took attendants through how to identify behaviours associated with the different uses of drugs, what responsibilities employers have for drug use in the workplaces, and approaches for dealing with these issues.
Those who require drug detection services or advice or systems for managing drug and alcohol issues in the workplace can contact Therese on either 021 467 042 or Therese.Gibbens@tdda.com

Upcoming meeting to discuss amalgamation of Minerals West Coast and West Coast Commercial Goldminers’ Association

An amalgamation of Minerals West Coast with the West Coast Commercial Goldminers’ Association was discussed at the AGMs of both respective organisations in Reefton last September.Minerals West Coast and the West Coast Commercial Goldminers’ Association will be meeting on the 14th of July to discuss progressing the merger. Members of both organisations are invited to attend.The meeting is scheduled for 7:00pm on Wednesday the 14th of July, at the Hokitika RSA (Sewell Street). More information on this meeting will be sent out shortly.