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Published: 2002-02-26 00:00:00

Environment Waikato wants an increase in the bond paid by a Ngatea peat mining company to cover the costs of rehabilitation works.

This week's Regulatory Committee heard that a coal mining licence was issued by the Minister of Energy to Peat Mining Ltd in 1991 to extract peat at Central Road, Ngatea.

A water discharge consent for the operation expired last September and applications for new and replacement consents for continued peat extraction had been made.

In 1998, operators Smith's Horticulture Distributors Ltd went into receivership and the current mining licence and consent holders are receivers KPMG Wellington. The company is discussing transferring resource consent applications to Yates New Zealand.

The current bond is $20,750 and Environment Waikato staff had raised concerns, as the rehabilitation works to satisfy conditions for the rest of the coal mining licence area of about 60 hectares was a total of about $67,500.

Environment Waikato is required to ensure compliance with rehabilitation conditions for coal mining licences the Ministry of Economic Development’s behalf in association with the territorial authority. Hauraki District Council supports the bond increase.

Resource officer Perry Empson said if the current holders of the consent experienced financial difficulty or went into receivership, the present bond was not enough to meet current rehabilitation requirements.

An increased bond would provide a level of comfort for Environment Waikato, the District Council and the Ministry that resources would be available to complete the rehabilitation in accordance with reasons consents.

The Committee recommended that staff be authorised to recommend an increase of the bond to $67,500.