Home' Greymouth Star : February 26th 2015 Contents www.greystar.co.nz
TV3 under fire
over X Factor killer
coming to Coast
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2015
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
A police investigation into the
suspicious package found on
an elderly Cobden man’s front
door on January 31, prompting a
bomb scare and evacuation of the
neighbourhood, is ongoing and
“active”. Detective sergeant Dan
Keno, of the Greymouth CIB, said
today several items from the Ward
Street incident had been sent away
for analysis, including forensic
investigation. He said police had
a number of people to speak with.
“It is still turning over and there
are persons of interest.” The ‘bomb’,
which had a timing device taped to
the top, was eventually blown up by
the army bomb disposal squad.
Ten Mile rockfall
‘safe’ — NZTA
The New Zealand Transport
Agency says a rockfall at Ten Mile
on the Coast Road, State highway
6, has not made a traffic layby area
unsafe. Highway manager Colin
Knaggs said engineers had inspected
the rockfall yesterday. “L ocalised
coastal erosion has caused rock and
material along an area of the bank
to slip on to the beach. There is no
visual evidence of any slumping or
cracking in the car park or the earth
bund around the outside edge of this
area, and there is no threat to the
highway.” Mr Knaggs said the fall
had not made the location unsafe
and there were no plans to cordon
off the area. NZTA would monitor
the site but did not believe it posed a
threat to the public at this time.
A Conser vative UK MP has
urged the NHS to use astrology
when treating patients and says that
anyone who does not believe in a
relationship between astronomical
phenomena and events on Earth
is “racially prejudiced”. David
Tredinnick, who sits on both the
Health Select Committee and the
Science and Technology Select
Committee, told the Astrological
Journal that he believes astrology
“ has a role to play in health care”.
And he went on to say that people
who did not think the positions of
celestial bodies influenced human
affairs were “ bullies” who are “deeply
prejudiced, and racially prejudiced”.
“ I do believe that astrology and
complementary medicine would
help take the huge pressure off
doctors,” he said. — Metro
Mainly fine after few morning showers
Coalmine bulldozed shut
The portal at the Terrace Mine
in Reefton has been bulldozed
and owners Crusader Coal have
signalled they intend closing the
The closure leaves only one
underground coalmine operating
on the West Coast — the privately-
owned Roa Mine, near Blackball.
Solid Energy’s Spring Creek
Mine, near Greymouth, remains in
The Reefton mine closure was
triggered by a partial roof collapse
almost two weeks ago.
Director Bernie Lambley said at
the time the collapse was “small”. He
could not be reached for comment
The Greymouth Star understands
the fall was in the return airway and
could not be cleared.
New Zealand Petroleum and
Minerals said today it had been
notified by the permit holder, and
by Work Safe NZ, that Terrace
Mine had been put in ‘care and
permanently sealed in the near
“The mining permit is still active.
As yet there has not been any
discussion with the permit holder
about relinquishing it,” spokesman
Britton Broun said.
The West Coast Regional Council
said it had been told one possibility
was to flood the pit.
Crusader Coal was working with
Work Safe on the options, consents
and compliance manager Jackie
“The intention is to remediate
Mr Adams said the roof fall was
the “nail in the coffin”, coming after
depressed international coal prices.
Work Safe said it understood
workers were bulldozing the portal
as a temporary measure, while
it drew up plans for a seal for the
entrance and submitted that to the
High Hazards Unit.
Terrace Mine, on the doorstep of
Reefton township, has been mined
for at least 100 years. It was sold to
Coalcorp (later Solid Energy) in
1988. In June 2009, Solid Energy
announced it was closing the mine,
which then employed 16 workers,
because a drop in coking coal prices
made it uneconomic.
Terrace Mine annual production
peaked in 2002-03 at a little over
73,000 tonnes, but from 1999
until operations ceased its average
production was just 45,000 tonnes.
It was sold to the Australian-
owned Crusader Coal Company,
which reopened it in December
2012 with a skeleton crew.
Reefton man Albert (Buck)
Anderson worked there when it was
owned by Hallaran Brothers, before
the State took over.
In his day, five or six worked there.
“It was one of the first hydro mines.
There is a big seam right through
the hill,” Mr Anderson said.
Back then, there were 20 or so
underground coalmines in the area,
PICTURE: Trevor Johns
The Terrace Mine site in Bridge Street , Reefton, was deserted this morning.
Scam victim ‘groomed’
A West Coast man who lost
$200,000 in an e-mail scam
had been extensively groomed
via the internet over an extended
period before he was fleeced of his
Detective senior sergeant Dan
Keno, of the Greymouth CIB,
said the man had only just reported
the scam, although it occurred late
A series of reciprocal e-mails
resulted in the victim — who
is keeping his locality secret —
divulging details to the scammers
after their initial contact.
This enabled the scammers
to contact him in ways which
appeared legitimate, including from
what appeared to be an Auckland
“ He provided them with some
contact phone numbers, which
appeared to legitimise it from his
point of view,” Mr Keno said.
So far it had been “impossible”
to trace the country of origin where
the scammer was operating.
Mr Keno said there were promises
of financial gain as well as the
receipt of electronic goods, and
the victim had got himself into debt
to meet the scammers’ demands.
“It’s the old story, really — if
it sounds too good to be true, it
In this case the “terribly worded
e-mails” suggested that the
scammers were not who they were
purported to be, Mr Keno said.
PICTURES: Department of Conservation
Two years after a major flood left the Roberts Point Track in the Franz Josef Glacier valley impassable, it has reopened
complete with an impressive new suspension bridge spanning 111m and 17m above the valley floor. Department of
Conservation, conser vation ser vices manager Wayne Costello said the bridge had just opened, and was installed after the
Januar y 2013 flood caused widespread damage. After engineers were called in, they opted for a bridge costing $96,000. The
track offers views of the glacier from the viewing platform, the rainforest and historical features. DOC says the track can be
slippery and people should not tr y to get to the glacier from the viewpoint, or cross the Waiho (Waiau) River except on the
Pike River Mine families have agreed
on two possible routes for a new ‘great
walk’, and have also revealed the plug
over the main mine portal will not be
The idea of a walk from the mine site,
possibly to Punakaiki, was agreed on by
the parties in late January.
Yesterday, the families met with
Environment Minister Nick Smith
and after he left they spent hours
hammering out two possible routes.
Dr Smith and the rest of the families
were to be informed today, before the
options are made public. Feasibility
studies will then be done.
Families spokesman Bernie Monk
said this morning it would potentially
be “one of the great walks in New
Zealand”, like the Heaphy Track.
Dr Smith had told the families he
had received feedback from people
throughout New Zealand, backing the
great walk idea.
The families also debated the future
of all the buildings left at the mine site,
Mr Monk said engineers had drawn
up plans in conjunction with the chief
mines inspector Tony Forster, for a
plug over the main portal.
Although the odds were “99%” that
no one would ever re-enter the main
drift, the seal would be retractable.
Families suggest two routes for Pike River ‘great walk’
The cost of cleaning up two of
the most contaminated toxic mine
sites in New Zealand — both in the
Grey Valley — has ballooned from
$600,000 to at least $3 million.
In July 2013, then Conser vation
Minister Nick Smith announced
a $600,000 clean-up of the old
Prohibition Mine site at Waiuta,
with half the money coming from
the Ministry for the Environment
and half from the Department of
A year later, the Government
announced that the nearby
Alexander River site was to be
included, with a Government
contribution of $137,500.
Dr Smith, now Environment
Minister, visited Waiuta yesterday
to announce that the mines
were to be cleaned up in “a joint
funding agreement between the
Ministry for the Environment and
the Department of Conser vation
His statement made no mention
of why the cost had more than
tripled and his office did not answer
questions from the Greymouth Star
“The Prohibition and Alexander
mine sites are acutely toxic and
a blight on New Zealand’s clean,
green reputation. The levels of
arsenic are among the highest
recorded anywhere in the world at
400,000 parts per million on land,
or 500 times the safe level, and in
water at 300 parts per million, or
33,000 times the safe limit for
drinking-water,” Dr Smith said in a
The Prohibition Mine site was
contaminated from the operation
of a roasting plant from 1935 to
1951, when arsenic-bearing ore was
roasted to release gold. The sites
also have high levels of naturally
occurring mercury and cyanide.
The contaminated area has been
fenced off to prevent public access
The condensing tower will be
cleaned, arsenic contaminated soil
removed, the soil put in sealed
barrels in a water-tight pit, and the
surface around the pit and tower
A water treatment plant will
protect surrounding natural water
bodies from contaminants from the
“This contaminated site is the
legacy of inadequate oversight and
requirements of previous mining
activities on the West Coast. We
need to repair the environmental
damage and clean up this site, but
also ensure that we properly regulate
mining activities today so as not to
create more problems of this sort in
the future,” Dr Smith said.
Waiuta clean-up tops $6m
One at a time on 111m bridge
► Roof collapse ‘nail in the coffin’ for Reefton mine
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