Environmentalists don't like mining. Some may say silly things like 'we're not against mining, just not here!' But the truth is that they are against mining. Solid Energy's snail programme, forced on it by deranged environmentalists, has cost the SOE $50m. For people who are not against mining, that's a huge roadblock to put in the way. Did we hear of any environmentalists providing donations to help with the cost? I don't recall.
The programme, initially expected to result in perhaps 700 snails ('if you are lucky, said the environmentalists'), has ended up with over 6000. Housed in special fridges at a cost of $400k per annum, and released back into the wide, these things are a human pest. It is inconceivable that these snails are worth $400k per annum to New Zealand in the future through some sort of starring role in a West Coast nature park, let alone $50m.
About 30 staff at Solid Energy are apparently environmental specialists. That's at least another $3m a year wasted on salaries, offices, vehicles, etc.
Environmentalists simply want mining banned. The Forest and Bird society, which has become one of the most rabid environmental groups in recent years, is a case in point. Quoted in the Listener (9/8), their 'advocacy manager' (code word for 'environmentalist') Kevin Hackwell first says:
“And we're not saying no coal. We're just saying don't go into a new area when you don't have to”
and then a bit later (nice Listener is kind enough to put this several pages later):
Mr Hackwell presumably expects Solid Energy to keep mining coal even when there isn't any left? Or perhaps he would rather that they never got started.
The Listener article ends with typical hyperbole from an environmentalist: 'we should stop while we have something left'. Just in case you think that statement has any credibility, here is a map showing the size of the Stockton mine against the conservation areas 'locked up' by DOC.
[You have to look really closely. I have put a black dot in the approximate location of the Stockton Mine. You will have to look really closely. My dot is about 3x larger than the Stockton Mine, so significantly overstates the size]
It is of course the nature of logging that it is extractive. Putting coal back into the ground wouldn't be of much use to anyone. But now is the time. There is no point extracting the coal in 50 years – no one will want it, what with all the new energy we can expect to become available. It won't even be very interesting as a tourist attraction either? Imagine trying to get people to pay to see all the stone that cavemen didn't extract from the ground. The time to mine coal is now.
Do us a favour, Solid Energy. Grow some common sense and stop pandering to environmentalists who will never relent, and will never accept your right to mine on your property. Get those snails out of the fridges, take them to Punakaiki, and throw them into the sea.
Send the $50m to the mayor of Westport.