Media release: Council approves coal exploration at Ohai

News item information


Southland District Council has approved an application from New Brighton Collieries Ltd (NBCL, wholly owned by Bathurst Resources Ltd) to grant an access arrangement to carry out exploratory work for coal at its Ohai forestry block.

Council also agreed in principle to negotiate the terms of an access arrangement for mining should exploration be successful subject to the granting of any necessary resource consents. It is also seeking feedback from the community about the possibility of mining in the area.

A distinction needs to be drawn between Council acting as landowner and granting access arrangements to its land and Council acting as regulator under the Resource Management Act 1991. The grant of access arrangements does not in any way predetermine the outcome of the applications for resource consents that NBCL will need to obtain for mining.

NBCL sought permission from Council to undertake the exploratory work under permit EP 40625 which it currently holds. Early investigations have indicated an economically mineable deposit in the forestry block.

Council chief executive Cameron McIntosh said: “If NBCL decides to pursue further mining, it will need to proceed through a publicly notified resource consent process.

“Council has committed to ensuring community consultation is undertaken before any consents are granted and one of the conditions for the access agreements is that NBCL has undertaken that any resource consents for mining that it seeks will be publicly notified.”

NBCL has proposed a late 2022 timeframe for commencement if mine development work was to proceed.

Council welcomes any feedback from the community by emailing

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