THE GREEN PLANET BLOG - Our World and Environment...

All about conservation, ecology, the environment, climate change, global warming, earth- watch, and new technologies etc.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A coalmine in her backyard...

A coalmine in her backyard - has the New Zealand Government told us yet? When will they, I wonder?

New Zealand's state owned coal producer, Solid Energy, and fertiliser company Ravensdown are currently investigating the building of a lignite to urea plant in Mataura's backyard. Solid Energy says the urea plant could be the foundation of a New Zealand capability in coal gasification technology, which could also be used to produce diesel domestically.

Solid Energy has been on a buying spree over the last couple of years - buying up farms in the area that sit over the extensive lignite deposits (some 8 billion tonnes) and pushing up land prices.

So far, the Gore District Council has shown unreserved enthusiasm for the idea and any publicity has carefully avoided the environmental impact whilst highlighting the economic benefits for the area and the rest of the country.

For those of us that live nearby the proposed site, should it go ahead, any economic benefits will be offset by the fumes, noise, air and water pollution and increased traffic caused by the mine and urea plant.

The proposed 'hole' would be 5km long by 2km wide and to a depth of 100m (that's 40m below sea level!). It is expected to move steadily across 40km of countryside. The picture above shows what it could end up as - a huge hole in the ground!

Acknowledgements: Kiwimeg

When will the NZ Government tell us?

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