Reefton mine may save West Coast jobs

By Laura Mills -
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Solid Energy said the mine would be just east of Reddale Mine "where mining is to cease within the next few months", the application says. Photo / File
Solid Energy said the mine would be just east of Reddale Mine "where mining is to cease within the next few months", the application says. Photo / File

Solid Energy, which is being broken up and sold, has applied for consent to start a small mine near Reefton, allowing it to retain staff after slumping disrupted mining at the small Reddale open-cast.

The Greymouth Star reported a month ago that all operations had been pulled out of the bottom of the pit at the Reddale mine due to ongoing slumping.

The State-owned company has now applied to the West Coast Regional Council to start another small open-cast pit in the Peerless Valley, just east of the Reddale Mine area, 2km north-east of Reefton.

It wants to establish a 1ha pit to mine coal from an area adjacent to old open-cast and underground mine workings. Between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes of coal would be mined.

The mine would be just east of Reddale Mine "where mining is to cease within the next few months", the application says.

The project would use the existing facilities.

"The company is currently carrying out exploration activities further to the east. Mining of the Peerless area while adjacent exploration activity is completed will enable seamless operations, continued workforce employment and continuity of coal supplies."

The overburden will be placed in an adjacent mined out pit (R D Moore open-cast) on the conservation estate.

Minewater and stormwater will be captured in the existing old Peerless pit (currently full of water) and this will be decanted to a treatment pond or ponds for settlement prior to its discharge to a tributary of Burkes Creek.

There would be about eight workers on site, plus intermittent consultants and other Solid Energy staff.

The area has been mined in the past, and the mine would mean a continuing supply of coal to customers as Reddale Mine is phased out, allowing the retention of the workforce while Solid Energy explored other options for mining in the area.

"Additional benefit is gained by the opportunity to rehabilitate an old pit on DoC land," the application says.

- Greymouth Star

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