Home' Greymouth Star : February 3rd 2017 Contents The most read newspaper per capita in New Zealand
Readership of 11,000
150 YEARS SINCE 1866
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check on Coast power lines P2
Animals starve in
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2017
$1.20 (Home Delivery 90c)
Phone 769 7900
$800 from doctor
A cleaner at a Greymouth
motel admitted stealing $800 in
Australian currency from a doctor
staying at the motel. Crystal-Anne
Graham-Hayes, 26, also admitted
in the Greymouth District Court
this week to possession of a
bong for smoking cannabis, on
December 14. Graham-Hayes
was employed as a cleaner at the
motel where a doctor employed by
Grey Base Hospital was staying.
The doctor and his wife left the
room to go to church and asked
Graham-Hayes if the room
could be serviced while they were
away. When they returned they
discovered $A800 of the $A4500
they had in the room was missing.
Police subsequently executed a
search of Graham-Hayes’ home
and found the money as well as the
drug utensils. She was convicted
and remanded for sentencing on
April 13. Police withdrew a charge
of possession of two live 12-gauge
drill in Hokitika
Westland Milk Products will
tomorrow conduct a further
exercise to test procedures for an
uncontrolled ammonia release at
the Hokitika dairy factory site. It
will test its uncontrolled ammonia
release siren at midday. The siren
will sound for about 30 seconds.
The company said siren testing
would in future be conducted on
the first Saturday of every month at
the same time. “ The public do not
need to take any action — it is a test
only and they are perfectly safe to
go about their business,” Westland
Milk said in a statement.
A woman phoned police to
complain about her dealer’s
‘outrageous’ price hike of weed. The
unnamed woman contacted officers
to ask if they could investigate
how to solve her problem, after
she was asked to pay more money
than usual. But strangely, as
cannabis is not legal in Australia’s
Northern Territory, she hung up
when police asked for her personal
details. Officers obviously found
the call quite funny, as they posted
on Facebook about the ‘unusual’
report encouraging anyone else to
come for ward about their problems
buying illegal substances. “ If you
know a drug dealer who is ripping
you off, give us a call, we’d love to
help,” they said. — Metro
Periods of rain, easing later
Spring Creek Mine ends
coalmine in NZ
to be sealed, flooded
Solid Energy has announced
the closure of the Spring Creek
Mine after failing to find a
buyer, closing the door on one
of the best coal resources in
New Zealand — and 150 years
of underground mining on the
It will result in nine job
losses of the skeleton crew left
behind to keep the pit in ‘care
and maintenance’ after the
200-strong workforce was laid
off in 2012.
Huntly East Mine, in Waikato,
is in its final few weeks, which
leaves Spring Creek as the last
underground coalmine in the
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn today lamented the
closure, but said it was inevitable
as the new post-Pike River
health and safety laws made it
virtually impossible to continue.
“This coalmine had great
promise — it has some of the
best coal in the world,”
Mr Kokshoorn said.
Solid Energy had been
spending $2 million a year to
keep the mine ventilated since it
was mothballed and production
suspended suddenly in 2012.
The pit and its myriad of
underground roads — which
run from the Seven Mile Valley
above D unollie down towards
Rapahoe — will now be flooded.
The failed State-owned
enterprise said today efforts to
sell the mine asset had been
exhaustive but in the end,
Details of how it would be
sealed are still being worked out,
but the natural flooding which
will occur may be accelerated.
Solid Energy chief executive
Tony King said it was a
disappointing outcome but
inevitable in the face of volatile
coal market conditions, coupled
with the significant capital
required to get the mine back
He acknowledged Spring
Creek was a big resource.
“ We had maintained a level
of optimism through the sales
process that a buyer would
recognise the potential for
economic redevelopment of
Spring Creek Mine, however
that simply hasn’t happened,”
Mr King said.
A detailed closure plan,
including sealing of the mine,
will now get under way.
The sealing process is expected
to be relatively straightforward
and it is anticipated that
the closure process could be
accomplished in three to four
Solid Energy expects to be able
to sell most of the equipment
and will probably relinquish the
mining permits. The associated
Rocky Creek coal washery will
be offered for sale to interested
parties on a standalone basis; it
employs two regular staff, plus
Mr Kokshoorn said it was truly
the end of an era.
At its peak Spring Creek
employed more than 200 miners
and hundreds of contractors.
“The writing was on the wall
ever since the health and safety
changes after Pike,” he said.
“It’s another blow, but not
The council had been involved
in discussions with the various
prospective buyers, including
talk of developing an activated
carbon plant there.
However, mining was just
too difficult under the new
legislation, Mr Kokshoorn said.
“Once it’s closed they can’t
The only possibility of getting
to the valuable coal resource in
future would be to access it from
the Rapahoe side.
The mayor said Greymouth
would need to continue the
painful transition from a
coal economy to sustainable
industries, and for now the best
lead was tourism.
“ We need to move from a worn
out coal town to attractive town
Spring Creek is the only mine
in Solid Energy ’s asset sales
portfolio that has not attracted
In October it announced it
had signed an agreement with
West Coast-owned Birchfield
Coal Mines to take over the
Strongman and Liverpool
open-cast mines, while Stockton
open-cast near Westport was
to be sold to a joint venture
between Bathurst Resources and
Solid Energy will cease to exist
by March 2018. It expects to
have sold all its assets by July
Rosco was confirmed today
as the buyer of Solid Energy ’s
Reddale Mine, near Reefton.
The open-cast pit employs
eight staff and is located near
the old Burke’s Creek Mine.
Solid Energy also noted the
Birchfield Mine acquisition
included Island Block just
outside Reefton, on the Lewis
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Spring Creek Mine above-ground infrastructure, photographed last month.
Rain cans Waitangi Day picnic
The Greymouth Waitangi Day
Community Picnic on Monday has been
cancelled after two months of rain left
the ground too wet to cook the hangi.
The organisers — all volunteers —
have been abused on Facebook for
cancelling the free event.
They made the decision yesterday after
checking the condition of Dixon Park,
which was soggy, and with more rain
forecast for tomorrow and on Monday.
“There’s a 95% chance of rain on
Monday,” secretary Sarah Conroy said.
Moving to another venue would not
help with the hangi, as it was just too
wet to cook.
“ Last year it was sort of wet leading
up to the hangi and they had problems
(cooking) due to the ground water. ”
Four years ago the picnic was cancelled
on the day. By making the call early, they
not only save volunteers’ time but $4800
Most of the funding, including from
the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, is
specifically for a picnic in the park and
if another venue was used the money
would need to be returned.
Chairman Doug Griffin said the event
was run entirely by volunteers, with
support from the Grey District Council.
As the event was not going ahead
this year the funds would have to be
returned, he said.
A truck full of goods that were
stranded in a train by the Kaikoura
earthquake, arrived in Greymouth
yesterday destined for West Coast
Grey District Council civil defence
management officer John Canning
said Countdown had claimed
insurance on the goods that were
being railed to Christchurch, when
the train was caught between
A third of the non-perishable
goods were subsequently donated to
Marlborough, a third to Kaikoura
and a third to Hurunui. However,
Hurunui declined to take its share and
in the wake of the recent flooding,
offered it to the West Coast.
Mr Canning approached Aratuna
Freighters, which yesterday
volunteered by sending a truck over
the inland road to Kaikoura, arriving
back at the Greymouth depot at 4pm.
The 20 pallets full of goods will now
be shared among the foodbanks in
Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika.
Mr Canning said the sheer quantity
would “dwarf ” the Salvation Army ’s
Greymouth foodbank storeroom.
Salvation Army captain Sharryn
McAuliffe said it “will be a huge help”.
PICTURE: Laura Mills
Captain Michael McAuliffe from the Salvation Army, John Canning from
civil defence, Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn, captain Sharryn
McAuliffe and Stephanie MacKenna from the Salvation Army, Aratuna
Freighters director Durham Havill and driver Scott Lemon.
Truckload of quake goods
boost Coast foodbanks
12 Herbert St, Greymouth
Phone: 03 768 0822
Sales A/H: Alastair Hamilton 768 7300
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