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Published: 2002-10-09 00:00:00

Environment Waikato and Waikato District Council have granted resource consents for an open cast coal mine and a construction and demolition landfill at Rotowaro Rd , Pukemiro.

Tracker Demolition Landfill Ltd applied for land use, discharge, stormwater and water take consents to construct the open cast mine and landfill. Ninety eight submissions were lodged with the Waikato District Council and 16 with Environment Waikato.

The company intends to operate the landfill and mine on land that has been operated as both an underground coal mine and then an open cast mine. The landfill would be constructed in stages, leachate treated with stormwater runoff and discharged to a tributary of the Waitawhara Stream. Once filled it would be rehabilitated for farming.

The applicant said that standards of construction for a construction and demolition landfill were not as stringent as for a municipal landfill, and the material to be landfilled would not contaminate the environment.

Submitter Enviro Waste Services Ltd said information supporting the applications was inadequate and there were concerns about landfill foundation conditions, site stability, liner design, waste acceptance, leachate management and the effect on water quality. It intended to pursue the matter in the Environment Court.

Another submitter raised concerns about the effects of previous coal mining on his neighbouring farm, dumping that had already occurred and further fires at the site. The Bush Tramway Club expressed concerns about potential land instability, increased surface runoff on the existing culverts beneath the railway, dust emissions and effects on water quality.

Other submitters raised concerns about water quality, dust control, the applicant’s track record, instability, air pollution, leachate discharge and property devaluation.

Granting the consent, the Commissioners said the existing property comprised remnant coal pits, exposed siltstone faces and bare or poorly scrub covered overburden. The proposed backfilling with construction and demolition waste provided the opportunity to move this waste away from municipal landfills. Proposed open cast mining by comparison was relatively minor in scale and could be readily accommodated within the highly modified site.

Environmental effects, subject to compliance with strict controls, would be minor. Providing progressive rehabilitation of the site occurred, the long term visual impact would be generally positive.

The consent was granted for 15 years, with a performance bond in favour of the District and Region.