I wouldn't have thought it very controversial that the job of our state-owned coal mining company is to mine as much coal as they can get their mitts on and ship it over to China or whoever else wants it.
What on earth is this doing on their web site?
Don Elder needs to get off the bottle, spending $20m on 'environmental initiatives' :
“This figure also includes the investment we’ve made in protecting the native land snails relocated from the Mt Augustus ridgeline of Stockton Mine. We are now into year three of a 10-year programme to collect and relocate the 6,000 plus snails collected from the site. Two-thirds have now been released back into the wild and the remainder are being kept in captivity at the Department of Conservation’s facility in Hokitika.
Don may not have noticed, but the environmentalists are not impressed. Nor will they ever be. Until Solid Energy shuts its doors that is.
So give up, pack it in. It is like appeasing Islam or Hitler. It won't result in anything but more protests and more objectionable and expensive behaviour as the ecowarriors sniff the scent of victory. If the environmentalists are so worried about snails, give them 2 weeks to get in there and collect the slimey little things and put them in their own fridges at their own expense. We'll see how much they care about snails then.
No, my bet is that it is the coal mining they don't like.
One of my many cousins (who incidentally works in the oil industry) remarked on a recent visit to NZ that there was good money to be made breeding snails and selling them to Solid Energy.
A company spokeswoman today said that when the endangered snails were first found in 2003 to be living on the ridgeline, where the mining was to occur, it was estimated only 500-1000 of the snails existed.
Since then the company had found 5300 snails, and was paying for the cost to relocate, monitor and protect the molluscs, estimated to cost another $NZ10m ($8.97m).
Who paid for this mis-estimate?
Nope. It is definitely the coal mining that they are against. The snails are a diversion.
This year the diversion is global warming. If that is found to be a fraud then no doubt it will be children being run over by coal trains. I am telling you Don: it is the coal mining they don't like.
If the Save Happy Valley bunnies (their site appears mercifully down at the moment) really did cost the company 200k tons of coal exports, that is $40m. Who is fronting up with that money? Apart from anything else that has cost perhaps $10m in tax that we will never see again. Why are people not protesting about that? Oh yes, they have jobs to go to...
And let's not imagine that these are nice environmentalists either. No, they are nasty environmentalists with sharp teeth who eat small children. Recall this 2005 press release entitled 'Snail Extinction Could See Top Miners in Jail'?
The Save Happy Valley Coalition has put the board of Solid Energy New Zealand on notice that the group will consider them personally liable for the extinction of a rare carnivorous land snail.
“If Solid Energy harms these snails then, according to our reading of the law, that’s a criminal act,” says Save Happy Valley spokesperson Frances Mountier.
So there is a stark choice. Either Solid Energy can reject the environmentalists and all their kin, and mine coal like hungry Welshmen. Or Solid Energy can give in to their ever-increasing demands, raise the white flag, and concentrate efforts on an up-and-coming core competency: snail farming.
Hat Tip; Frog Blog