Home' Greymouth Star : July 3rd 2017 Contents SINCE 1866
West Coast boxing extravaganza
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Kumara road rage
A suspected road rage incident
on the outskirts of Kumara about
6pm yesterday resulted in the arrest
of two Christchurch men. Police
said the pair, aged 29 and 32 , were
arrested on State highway 73 at
Dillmanstown. One was charged
with disorderly behaviour and the
other with behaving threateningly.
Both are due to appear in court
tomorrow. The alleged victims in
the incident had “done the right
thing” by contacting the police, a
Tick for boxing
Greymouth police were impressed
with the organisation of the boxing
Downtown Showdown on Saturday
night. Senior sergeant Paul Watson
said pre-planning meetings with the
organiser had paid off, with good
outside security personnel at the
venue and a visible police presence
indoors throughout the night. “No
arrests ... which was very pleasing,”
Mr Watson said.
The Australasian Hotel has lost
two cord of firewood valued at
$600, stolen from a locked shed
on the property. Police said the
theft happened some time between
June 14 and 15, but had only just
been reported. Senior sergeant
Paul Watson, of Greymouth police,
said the wood was stolen straight
out of the shed in the hotel car
park. A coal shovel and a brand
new wheelbarrow were also stolen.
Anybody with information about
the theft including witnessing
seeing a vehicle and trailer in the
hotel car park about the middle of
last month, can pass on information
to the Greymouth police or
anonymously via 0800 555 111.
Brief morning rain, snow lowering
Mayor of San Pedro Huamelula,
Victor Aguilar, took a crocodile to
be his wife in the southern region
of Oaxaca on Friday, as part of
an indigenous tradition intended
to bring good fortune to local
fishermen. The female crocodile
was baptised on Thursday, and was
subsequently dressed in a white
robe and had its jaws clamped shut
on the big day. Tradition demands
the respective mayor of San Pedro
Huamelul marry a new crocodile
each year, as legend has it that the
ceremony will bring fishermen luck
in fishing. — Daily Mail
Gold wash stolen
Police have recommended that gold
claim operators clear their screens
daily to avoid the theft of gold wash,
following an incident at a Maori Creek
claim overnight on Thursday.
Senior sergeant Paul Watson, of
Greymouth police, said the wash had
been cleared from the screens some
time between 6.30pm on Thursday and
6.30am on Friday.
The mine operator contacted police
after arriving to find the previous day ’s
“At this stage we’re reviewing all
CCTV that is in place at that location,”
Mr Watson said.
While it may be inconvenient for some
mine operators, a good policy would be
for them to clear the wash from the
screens daily to avoid temptation from
opportunist thieves or those “in the
“It’s a timely reminder that there are
some active people out there obviously
targeting those mine sites and the
owners,” Mr Watson said.
Solid Energy has applied for consent
to flood the abandoned Spring Creek
Mine, bringing to a sorry end 150 years
of underground coalmining on the West
The failed State-owned enterprise
announced the closure of Spring
Creek in February after failing to
find a buyer, closing the door on what
is acknowledged as one of the most
valuable coal resources in New Zealand.
It has since been removing heavy
machinery from underground.
Solid Energy has now applied to take
extra water from Seven Mile Creek
during floods, in order to fill the mine
pit with water. It expects that to be
completed by March 2018.
“As the result of a sealing strategy risk
assessment, some flooding of the mine
roadways will complement the sealing
process,” the application says.
The application to the West Coast
Regional Council is to take up to 15
litres a second, from 700m downstream
of the Moody Creek coalmine.
Spring Creek Mine has been in ‘care
and maintenance’ since 2012, when the
workforce of 200 was laid off.
Ever since, the company has spent
$2 million a year to keep the mine
ventilated, with a skeleton staff of up to
Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn
said today this was the last underground
coalmine in the Grey district.
The only remaining coalmines for now
were the Roa open-cast, employing
about 30, with Birchfields set to take on
the Strongman open-cast, at Nine Mile.
Mr Kokshoorn said there would be
no more than 70 coalmining jobs left in
the district, compared to over 600 only
about a decade ago.
“It’s the end of an era.”
The Grey District Council has
previously asked Solid Energy to leave
the above-ground roads in place at
Spring Creek for possible use as part of
the proposed Southern Paparoa Coal
The Spring Creek Mine has a myriad
of underground roads, which run from
the Seven Mile Valley above D unollie
down towards Rapahoe.
Solid Energy itself will cease to exist by
March next year. It expects to have sold
all its assets by the end of this month.
Spring Creek was started in 2000
by Grey Coal, a joint venture between
Solid Energy and Todd Energy
as a replacement for Strongman 2
underground, which closed in 2003 after
being worked out.
Development at Spring Creek was
temporarily halted in February 2001,
but following Solid Energy’s purchase
of the Todd Energy half share of the
venture the following year, mining
recommenced in September 2002. It
was later a joint venture with Cargill
Greymouth fishing por t full
The sale price for the Strongman
open-cast coalmine is being kept
The Greymouth Star asked Solid
Energy for the sale price under the
Official Information Act. The State-
owned company has already revealed
that it was selling the Stockton,
Rotowaro and Maramarua mines for
a combined $46 million.
However, Solid Energy lawyer Rob
Page declined to release the sale price
for Strongman, which has been sold
to West Coast-based Birchfield Coal.
Mr Page said Birchfield had told
it that providing the information
would be commercially damaging
as competitors, including start-up
miners, would be able to calculate
They could then “use this
information to their advantage,”
Mr Page said.
customers of (Birchfield Coal) would
be able to ‘reverse engineer’ production
and capital costs, which could have an
impact on the existing and future coal
sales prices for coal produces from
“Solid Energy agrees with this view,”
Mr Page said.
The sale of Strongman was
confirmed in April.
Strongman Mine sale price to stay secret
An unexpected fire siren in Cobden
yesterday afternoon resulted in
14 firefighters showing up at their
station in time to give some children
a talking to.
Fire chief Gary Pollock said
children playing outside the fire
station had used a hammer to break
the outside call box glass, activating
the emergency siren.
Ordinarily the fire siren was not
activated immediately because
volunteers were advised by pager, so
the activation yesterday saw 14 turn
One of the children involved
had dropped their bike and done
a runner, and the hammer used to
smash the glass was dropped nearby.
Some parents alerted by the
alarm showed up looking for their
children, who were subsequently
“educated ” about the repercussions.
Meanwhile, the Cobden brigade
was called out about 7pm on
Saturday after a minor motor
vehicle crash in Peel Street.
In Westport, the volunter brigade
there was called on Saturday
morning to deal with what was
reported to be fallen power lines in
Cobden Street, opposite Westport
Fire chief Alan Kennedy said it
turned out to be telephone wires
brought down by strong winds. The
brigade secured the wires before
clearing the scene.
The Hokitika Volunteer Brigade
was called to the Westland Milk
Products factory at 5pm on Saturday
but it was a false alarm.
PICTURE: Tony Ruru
Fishing berths are at a premium at the Greymouth port as the hoki
season hits its straps.
PICTURE: Paul McBride
Right: This boat was forced to unload at the old Grey River wharf on
Friday, due to congestion at the fishing wharf.
With the hoki season in full
swing the Greymouth port is
operating to capacity, with facilities
stretched to the limit.
Port of Greymouth team leader
Franco Horridge said 12 fishing
boats were coming in and out of
port regularly, together with five
local boats, although less often.
“It has been a great start to the
season so far, and it is good to see
boats from outside the region in
port,” Mr Horridge said.
However, he acknowledged the
bar at the entrance to the port
was shallow and had informed
Maritime New Zealand, which
had issued a warning to vessels
navigating the bar at high tide.
Talley ’s and Westfleet are both
operating at near capacity, resulting
in an overflow of vessels moored
in the Blaketown lagoon, but that
has also highlighted the critical
condition of silting in the lagoon,
which is well overdue for dredging.
Talley ’s Greymouth branch
manager Geoff Drake said they
were all extremely busy, with four
boats unloading on a 12-hour
turnaround, and operating around
Mr Drake said they were
unloading 100,000kg of hoki every
day, weather permitting.
“It is fantastic for us, but the
biggest issue is the lagoon.
“If that is improved we could
increase our efficiency and
“The council need to get
active and dredge the port. It is
something that has been planned
but this has been ongoing for a
number of years now.
“If one of our $1 million boats
gets stuck in the lagoon I don’t
think the council would stump up
and pay to get it out,” Mr Drake
Talley’s has recently completed
a 16m extension to the wharf and
unloading facility at the port.
Grey District Mayor Tony
Kokshoorn said the lagoon had
been a struggle for the port for the
past 20 years.
He was pleased the fishing
industry was going strong, with
both Talley’s and Westfleet
building new wharfs and
processing plant. “ We have some
of the best sustainable fishing on
the West Coast, which all bodes
well for this part of the port’s
future,” Mr Kokshoorn said.
Children scarper after activating fire alarm
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