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Joyce’s desperate shill for Bathurst mining

Written By: - Date published: 12:42 pm, September 28th, 2012 - 17 comments
Categories: Mining, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has launched a broadside against the environmental opponents of the privately owned Denniston mine project. To do this Stephan Joyce has tried to draw a bow linking those who wish to stop the opening of the Dennistion mine, with the closing of the Spring Creek mine.

Minister Blames environmentalists for the closing of Spring Creek

The Forest and Bird Protection Society has branded Joyce’s comments as “mischievious” and “opportunistic”.

Let’s get this clear.

Everyone has been told this, including the Minister. Spring Creek is being closed because to the falling global price of commodities, especially coal, due to the recession and falling global demand.

The Minister is drawing a very long bow to suggest otherwise, and he knows this.

But he is doing it for a reason and his target is very clear.

For those of us concerned about climate change, to which burning coal is the single greatest contributor, it is an inescapable fact that we need to work with the West Coast communities that currently rely on coal as their mainstay industry….

On the other side….

Joyce and his fossil fuel mates are opportunistically trying to take advantage of the suffering of the West Coast workers and their communities to remove all environmental safeguards. Listen to his complaints about environmental “mitigations”, specifically his complaint against raising climate change. Joyce is a liar. The Minister is trying to get these workers on his side when it is he who is attacking them.

Blaming environmentalists for these job losses is a lie. This is clearly not the position in this case.

For misleading the public, the Green Party should be demanding that Joyce be forced to apologise in the house.

Because Spring Creek and Denniston are both coal exporting mines in competition with each other in a shrinking market, It is in the interests of the Spring Creek mine and the Greymouth community that Denniston never open.

Opening Denniston in the hope that coal prices will eventually recover. (dubious as this argument might be). Is the same argument being put by the workers and their union for keeping Spring Creek open. With the world slump in coal demand, to have in existence an already producing mine competing in the same area of the market, is a dagger in the heart of the Denniston project.

The publicly owned Spring Creek mine is in direct competition with the privately owned Denniston project.

The question must be asked;

With Solid Energy on the market – has possible private investor in Solid Energy, namely Bathhurst Resources, requested as a condition of sale that Spring Creek be closed?

Would an Official Information Request, if granted, reveal this?

Is Spring Creek being closed because it makes the Denniston project unviable?

Do, the underground workers of Spring Creek and the anti-coal lobby have a common interest in seeing that Denniston never opens?

Does the minister know this?

Is this the reason the Minister is trying to turn the Greymouth community’s anger against Solid Energy against the environmental opponents of Denniston?

– Jenny

17 comments on “Joyce’s desperate shill for Bathurst mining ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    If it’s uneconomical to keep an already working mine open then starting a new one is even more uneconomical. The logic does not compute but this is NACT and logic has very little to do with their actions except insofar as they benefit themselves and their rich mates. Dropping another few hundred people on to the trash heap will lower wages even more – just as John Key promised he would do.

    • insider 1.1

      One’s an underground mine the other open cast. Economics will be vastly different. \Ultimately it’s up to Bathurst to decide the wisdom of spending their money, not us.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1

        It’s up to us if we allow them to destroy the ecosystem and the economics would indicate that doing so wouldn’t bring much, if any, benefit.

        • marty mars

          The Crown Minerals Group in their submission say that the mine will generate $2.3 billion.

          Bathurst says, “Its coking coal will be used in the steel industry, which is facing a demand slump because of slower growth in China.

          “It [coal] has come off the highs of the last 18 months quite considerably but you have to run your business so that in the bad times you’re holding your nose above water and in the good times you’re making good money for investors and the nation.”


          There you go – the projected numbers are made up, based on another high demand period coming along.. Amazing that they can get away with fictional figures. but what isn’t fictional is the information in Forest and Bird’s submission

          4 inconsistancies with the West Coast Regional Policy Statement, 4 inconsistancies with the West Coast Regional Plan, and 3 inconsistancies with the Buller District Plan. They also assessed the RMA and they outlined 16 specific areas where the Escarpment Mine Project on Denniston Plateau, “does not promote the sustainable management of natural and physical resources and is inconsistent with the principles of the RMA” (Forest and Bird, 2012, p 15). That is just the legal, legislative aspects. As you can imagine the information on the unique ecosystem, flora and fauna covers a few pages too.

          On one hand we have made up figures to sugarcoat the whole deal and on the other specific information on real potential conflicts with the declared plans and statements from the various local authorities and central government. I trust Forest and Bird and wish them well on their continued opposition to this pathetic mining plan.

  2. Dv 2

    Who owns Bathhurst?

  3. ianmac 3

    Do those miners who extract coal from underground have/use the same skills as those who work in open-caste mines? I would have thought that the open-caste skills are those of digger drivers and truck drivers.

    • I think open-caste is the better option from every perspective, it may even help their water table problems if they think it through.
      And those peoples lives are worth more than some grassland.
      Of course that’s a statement only the Cantabrians can truly answer, but in the name of Jobs it’s worthy of thought.

  4. Jokerman 4

    ol’ chrome-dome’s a shoe-shine boy alright; Winnie still chasing him about Radio Indulgences

  5. blue leopard 5

    Great post Jenny

    Another reason for the closure of the Springs Creek mine was discussed in Parliament on Wed 25 September 2012

    “Hon Damien O’Connor: Can the Minister give an unequivocal assurance to the House that there are no links whatsoever between the job losses and the restructure of Solid Energy, and the Government’s plans to float the company on the stock market?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: Yes, I can give that assurance. The primary driver of the decisions, as has been pointed out by the board, has been the drop in the coal price. I sympathise with the member, who has a problem that he wants to see more jobs on the Coast, as we do, but his political colleagues stand in the way of those new jobs.

    Hon Damien O’Connor: How can the Minister and the chief executive of Solid Energy continue to deny that the sale of Solid Energy was not part of these job cuts, when on page 8 of the Solid Energy review document the priorities were to “maximise medium-term cash generation and value uplift consistent with our potential listing objectives [from] our shareholder …” and “preparing Solid Energy for a potential listing at some stage in one to three years”?

    Hon BILL ENGLISH: Close scrutiny of Solid Energy, which began last year, has shown that that company needed to have very high coal prices in order to continue with its strategy, regardless of any future sale. The coal price dropped by 60 percent. That particular mine has been losing millions of dollars per month. The answer for the workforce is for the objections to the Bathurst Resources application to be withdrawn so that that mine can get up and going, providing 400 jobs. We hope the Opposition parties will join with us in calling on those objectors to withdraw, in the interests of the people who lost their jobs yesterday.”

    • Dv 5.1

      Hang on close one mine and make another, and that will be better!


      • Jenny 5.1.1

        Dv, in this government’s opinion a private mine is “better” than a publicly owned mine. Millionaire investors can make a return from owning private owned coal mines denied to them if they were publicly owned. Scotch any idea of dividends to the taxpayer, or government accounts to pay for hospitals, schools etc. Better that this dividend goes into the pockets of the elite to pay for mansions and flash estates in Monaco, or Hawaii.

        Bugger the unemployed underground miners of Greymouth. They can go on the dole and if that is too good for them, they can bugger off to Australia.

        The closure of publicly owned Spring Creek and the fast tracking of the opening of privately owned Denniston is a showcase of the Government’s true motive for their privatisation agenda.

        The usual excuse for privatisation, that it will create more jobs has been exposed as a lie in Greymouth.

        It is not about creating jobs and making a stronger economy at all.

        It is all about looking after the rich and dumping on everyone and everything else.

        If it is jobs in the public sector – get rid of them. If it is the environment – bulldoze it.

        The political representatives of the venal and greedy are occupying the treasury benches and John Key’s oft repeated mantra that “we must consider the needs of all New Zealanders” is getting more and more tiresome and irritating and less believable each time he repeats it.

        Everything is to be sacrificed on the alter of private profits to the benefit of the few like himself.

        • blue leopard

          In the event that someone has more knowledge than I about such matters, I continue to ask the question: How accountable are our politicians to the needs of all New Zealanders? Like how accountable really?

          Is there anything, anywhere in our constitutional rules, or in any legal papers or definitions of what is required of our politicians, that stipulates that they work for the greater good of New Zealand and its inhabitants?

          I am aware that there is some type of limited liability clause to protect our politicians because they are working on such a vast array of matters.

          Yet a requirement that they work for the benefit of NZ’s inhabitants?

          Perhaps this is simply a quaint notion which many of us hold, that this is what their role is, yet is incorrect?

  6. captain hook 6

    joyce also shilled for faster downloading, “nudge nudge, wink ,wink” and then look what happened!

  7. Jenny 7

    “Those the Gods wish to destroy, they first make insane.”

    Denniston vs. Spring Creek

    National: Closing a small coal mine, to make it easier to open an even bigger one.

    Labour: Not as bad/mad as National, argues for the retention of Spring Creek.

    But where are the Greens in this debate?

    Why has there voice been missing?

    They should be jumping all over this.

    Why are they letting Joyce and the right have a clear field of attack?

    Are the Greens continuing the policy they followed during the last election of playing down the threat of climate change in the hope of winning more seats?

    By the projected time frame for the Green Party to become the majority party in the house of representatives it will be to late.

    In my opinion their best strategy is from their minority position try and win the the whole of parliament to take action. This can only be done by mobilising and changing public opinion.

    This means instead of being quiet about the threat of continuing with coal mining. Speak out.

    Speak out loudly.

    Speak out often.

    Speak out strongly.


    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that we could provide 80% of our power needs using renewable energy by 2050, using today’s technologies.

    And there are a variety of policies that would not only make that affordable, it would make it one of our best opportunities for creating jobs.

    Why are the Greens not arguing for this?

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