Home' Greymouth Star : September 2nd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
2 - Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Wednesday September 2
Urgent Cases Only
Phone 769 9300 first
Grey Medical Centre
Doreen and Dave Low
Love from family and friends
Genuine Care and
battle for sur vival
The West Coast ’s stricken coalminers
Solid Energy and Bathurst Resources —
both attended the mining industry’s annual
New Zealand conference yesterday, to the
surprise of many of the 260 delegates.
A decision on Solid Energy’s future, and
how it will be broken up and sold after being
placed in voluntary administration last
month is due late this month, while Bathurst
is riding a knife-edge of commercial
viability; at least in a cash positive position
but relying on domestic operations to
Many delegates at the annual conference of
the New Zealand branch of the Australian
Institute of Mining and Metallurgy had
expected that Solid Energy chief executive
Dan Clifford would not keep his speaking
While focusing the majority of his
update on implementing health and safety
regulations at the mine site, Mr Clifford did
say he hoped for the “right outcome” for the
company, its shareholders and all its staff.
Solid Energy “would definitely be selling
assets in the near future” but he declined
to comment further while the process of
voluntary administration was still under way.
Bathurst Resources chief executive Richard
Tacon said in an inter view the company was
“definitely interested” in some of the Solid
Energy coal assets, but on the other hand
“did not want to grab the poison chalice”
by having unworkable permits at a time of
record low prices.
Bathurst has a 2016 target of producing
450,000 tonnes of domestic coal from its three
South Island mines, and while preparing to
lose West Coast cement maker Holcim as a
customer next year, Mr Tacon expected some
“spot sales” could help offset the loss.
He said regardless of whether Bathurst
bought any assets, it could also work with
other potential purchasers, Mr Tacon being
optimistic there could be synergies in sharing
infrastructure or access assets, within a
“complementary joint venture”.
Earlier, in Mr Tacon’s presentation to the
conference, introduced as a “sur vival strategy
for tough times”, he said key strategies
included the company transitioning from
being an explorer to a coal producer, now
having its focus on domestic coal supplies,
and also targeting cost-management.
“The key to sur vival and growth is on-site
efficiencies . . . get productivity right, focus on
the margin, not the coal price,” he said.
Bathurst had lost the initiative to at least
begin production when it was forced into
court for about two years over its consents,
costing it about $35 million, by which time
the global price of specialist coking coal had
plunged to record lows and it was not viable
to mine it for export.
“ We expect no change (to global prices) for
the next three years . . . but really need to take
advantage when it does change,” he said.
He highlighted having just booked the
company ’s third consecutive cash-positive
quarter, debt having been reduced to
$2.5 million and the halving of administration
costs, which included cutting his own pay.
On the question of how Bathurst could get
coal to export markets, Mr Tacon said there
had been talks with Kiwi Rail on railing coal
to Lyttelton and a “ workable plan” was in
place, covering the next 10 years.
— Otago Daily Times
A group of 21 children from every primary school in the Grey district were treated to breakfast at the Tai Poutini Polytechnic and
then kayaking with some of its outdoor education staff, as part of the Greymouth police Blue Light community programme. Senior
constable Mike Tinnelly said the children were chosen from each school for showing a great attitude to other students and their
teachers at their respective schools during the year.
Police reward pupils’ positive attitude
PICTURE: Ben Aulakh
$15m for production: Bathurst
of the Westport News
Bathurst Resources would need
working capital of $15 million to ramp
up its Buller Escarpment Mine, says the
latest company update.
Bathurst has delayed ramping up
production until international coal
The company has $5.2m in cash and
short-term deposits and $3.1m bank
debt, the update said. The market value
of its issued shares is $12.3m.
Coal obtained while building initial
infrastructure at Escarpment has been
sold domestically. Bathurst said it was
focusing on the domestic market for cash
flow. Domestic sales meant the company
was not exposed to international coal
It had reduced its domestic mining
costs by 40% and its administration
costs by 17% since 2014. It was aiming
to reduce its average cash cost of mining
to $73 a tonne by 2016.
Bathurst has small coalmines in Buller,
Southland and Canterbury.
El Nino traditionally means a wet spring for the
West Coast — but the last time it really struck,
the driest September in 40 years was recorded.
The Greymouth Star reported in 1997 that
September saw just 72.2mm of rain. That was
the driest September since 1958.
Coal Creek resident Jimmy Stewart, who
has kept his own records for 39 years, said
September 1997 was a dry month.
He believes El Ninos do not often become
fully formed until November. The following
year, the October was pretty wet but November
1998 had just one wet day — and people
complained about the dry, he said.
Dry September in 1997 El Nino
August warms up in Reefton
Another historic goldfield area on the West
Coast is poised to be re-mined.
Birchfield Minerals Ltd has applied to the
West Coast Regional Council for consent for an
alluvial goldmining operation over land owned
by Rossburn Farms Ltd, at Nelson Creek.
Advanced exploration and bulk samples have
“determined that an economic mineral resource
is present within the application area”, the
The plan is to construct an operational pond,
which will be used to float the gold screen.
The area has been mined and a tributary of
Nelson Creek diverted upstream. Most of the
land is pasture, with little vegetation present.
The pasture and topsoil will be stripped off
before mining begins.
Nelson Creek has a long goldmining history
from its beginnings in 1865. At the height
of the rush over 1200 miners were scattered
throughout Try Again Terrace. It was later
A cold August became more spring-like in
Reefton, weather obser ver Tony Fortune said
The month started off rather cold with some
heavy showers turning to sleet, and snow to low
levels on August 7. That was followed by frosty,
foggy mornings. The second half of the month
was milder with wet spells, and more spring-
A total of 221.5mm of rain fell, up on
181.5mm last year and more than the average of
200.7mm. There were 14 days of rain, compared
to 13 last year. The heaviest fall was 55mm on
August 19. The coldest day was August 10,
when it got to a very chilly -8degC, the same
as last August, and the warmest was 16degC on
August 30. There were 10 frosts, down on the 16
recorded last year.
Bid to dredge old goldfield again
A slump in scrap metal prices is hitting
The downturn in coal and dairy
prices has been well documented, but a
Greymouth scrap metal dealer says they
are being affected, too.
Gavin Case, who operates from Preston
Road, said prices were down to what they
were 12 or 15 years ago.
He was getting $130 a tonne in
Christchurch, but it cost $60 to crush the
scrap and $60 to transport it.
“The Chinese are not buying at all
hardly,” Mr Case said, noting that steel
prices were the worst affected.
“ We are making $10 a tonne — and
we’ve got to run vehicles.”
Grey District Council assets manager
Mel Sutherland said up to 200 tonnes
of scrap metal was currently being sold
from McLeans Pit.
They were making “something”, Mr
“It’s being sold and being taken
away from us . . . But the markets are
In March, a Timaru scrap yard said it
had stockpiled 1000 car bodies as it was
no longer economical to shred car bodies
The 2015 El Nino event could
strengthen before Christmas and
continue into autumn 2016, the
Metser vice said today.
The last El Nino which really
impacted on the Coast was in
1997-98, when it rained almost
every day in October 1998 and
turned paddocks to mud.
The Metser vice said the El
Nino had now reached maturity
in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Sea
surface temperatures were 2degC
warmer than normal across much
of the equatorial Pacific.
“The majority of international
climate models strengthen this
El Nino before Christmas and
continue it into early autumn
2016,” Metser vice said today.
Seas around New Zealand were
colder than usual during August,
especially off the east coast.
For New Zealand, a trademark
El Nino spring was colder than
normal, with enhanced south-
The bottom line was a “cooler
than average September for all
regions. After an extremely wet first
week, rainfall looks near average or
below average across the country ”.
Metservice tips El Nino to strengthen
Westport raid yields cannabis
Cannabis plants and were found
growing in the roof of a Westport
property during a raid on Friday.
Police found a number of cannabis
plants and seedlings in the ceiling.
“Dried cannabis was also located
in the house, along with other drug
paraphernalia,” police reported today.
Two men, both in their 20s, were
Meanwhile, police are also investigating
a theft from a liquor store in Westport.
A man bolted from the store with an
18-pack of bourbon on Saturday night.
He was pursued by police and was last
seen in Peel Street.
Visit: www.superliquor.co .nz or call 0800 SUPERL (0800 787 375) for your local store. Over 140 stores nationwide, 100% locally owned and operated.
Offer ends close of trade 13th September 2015, while stocks last. Available at participating stores only. Limits may apply at participating outlets. Trade not
supplied. Terms and conditions may apply. Available 31st August – 13th September 2015 inclusive. Please see www.superliquor.co.nz for details.
OFFER VALID THURSDAY 3RD
TO SATURDAY 5TH SEPTEMBER
LION RED, SUMMIT, SPEIGHT’S
15 X 330ML BOTTLES
15 X 330ML BOTTLES
12 X 330ML BOTTLES
15 X 330ML
EXPORT GOLD, TUI OR
24 X 330ML BOTTLES
JIM BEAM & COLA OR
CANADIAN CLUB & DRY
10 X 330ML CANS
6 X 330ML CANS
12 X 250ML CANS
PURE & FLAVOURS
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STELLA OR STELLA LEGERE
12 X 330ML BOTTLES
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