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New Zealand environmental court gives nod to new coal development

Oct. 24, 2013 at 7:23 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- A New Zealand court's consent for development of a coal mine translates to at least $25 million in annual royalties, a government minister said Thursday.

New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said he was pleased an environmental court gave its consent to Bathurst Resources for its Escarpment mine on the western shore of South Island.

"This is great news for the West Coast," Joyce said in a statement. "The mine will inject almost $840 million into the New Zealand economy over six years, and provide $25 million each year in royalties and taxes."

Mining company Bathurst Resources survived two court challenges to the project, both filed on environmental grounds.

The government said Bathurst agreed to spend more than $20 million in environmental conservation in an effort to mitigate the impact the coal mine could have on the environment.

Bathurst is expected to produce more than 1 million tons of coal per year from the Escarpment mine.

The International Energy Agency, which has headquarters in France, said coal provides 40 percent of the world's electricity needs. It has been the fastest growing source of energy since the beginning of this century.

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