Friday, October 25, 2013


A very misleading image of the Rochfort Plateau where Bathurst Mining have been given approval for an opencast mine to extract some of the best coal in the world for export.

On far too many days for most, "the plateau" is "HELL ON EARTH"

In the foreground are  the remnants of Denniston, a settlement at the top of the world famous "Incline" where traditionally mined coal was accumulated from several mines across the plateau, to be exported over the infamous Buller River Bar or later by rail from Lyttleton, from the 1860s until the Inangahua Earthquake finally ended the economic life of the engineering icon that enabled economical transport of the coal down the 2000 feet almost vertical drop to the Railway.

You see Denniston is perched at the very edge of civilisation, 2000 feet or over 650 meters above the Tasman Sea, totally exposed to the prevailing westerly on shore winds that delivered rain on many days and at that altitude it was more than likely to be snow.
Many tonnes of hard black coal went down the "incline" for nearly a century.
Many lives were lost, illness was often a part of daily life, accidents occurred and serious medical resources were at Westport, miles and hours away.
Many, particularly women, once deposited on the Plateau never left until death claimed them, when due to the very inhospitible rock that predominated, traditional burial was impossible so the coffin went down the incline to be interred in "foreign soil".
 The West Coast has always been a proud, resourceful, independent minded, selfhelp, loyal bunch who find the interference from so many well provided for busybodies as quaint at first but such intrusions rapidly cause serious resentment.
Gold, Coal and Timber have sustained the semi isolated community for ever,( even the Tangata Whenua exploited the Ahaura river for Jade), and now we can add dairying, as wealth creating means to supporting that very proud community.

When Helen Clark referred to coasters as "feral" at the height of the debate that led to the destruction of the West Coast timber industry it was just another assault in along list, where ignorant people, many of whom had never ventured over the Southern Alps, armed with an infallible "I know best" attitude bludgeoned the coasters.

It has taken Bathurst years to get past endless objections, hearings, court actions, more hearings and finally a verdict in favour from the Environment Court to overcome a constant stream of moves by people using their compliant umbrella pressure groups, funded by the emotional ignorant living in comfort, sustained by their comfortable albeit non productive lifestyles in what is now a seemingly failed protest.
One minor matter highlighted by Buller District Mayor today is the serious financial  burden that falls on his quite numerically small ratable residents and small business  sectors who are compelled to answer the idle ignorant at each and every nefarious step to stop the lifeblood of the coast from flowing.


The Veteran said...

Yes, but none of that will wash with the Greens.

For them it's ideology trumps all in spades and bugger the people of the West Coast.


Paulus said...

Start digging before Greenpeace/Labour/Winston/Mana get elected.
They will stop "all" mining within their 100 day target.

Chris bird said...

According to the greens this is a pristine environment. What about all the roads and buildings up there now? I wonder how many of these protesters have ever been up there to see for themselves how the whole area has been changed with over 100 years of mining there already.
Go Bathurst mining with the jobs you are going to create for Coasters.