Media statement

Business case progressing to find long-term options for Stockton Mine Acid Drainage

The community can expect to see progress on the Stockton Mine Acid Drainage Management project in the coming months, with work now transitioned to Te Tai Ōhanga the Treasury as lead and Tregaskis Brown supporting the business case.

Treasury commercial performance manager Maureena van der Lem said officials were prioritising engagement with the community, while Tregaskis Brown is focused on work to develop options for the treatment.

“We’re now past the establishment phase of this work and have in place our processes, governance and systems that will help us to deliver a preferred option for the approach to managing acid mine drainage.

“Local iwi Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae and mine owner BT Mining Limited are partnering with Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury, and the three entities form a Project Steering Group, chaired by Treasury’s Juston Anderson.

“We have also appointed an Expert Advisory Group to bring local and international knowledge and best practice on mining and mine drainage, freshwater ecology and environmental toxicology.”

The Expert Advisory Group meets for the first time this year on Thursday, with Tregaskis Brown updating the programme and planning for the year ahead.

“A key input to further work is the outcome of the Cultural Assessment, which has been initiated with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae,” Ms van der Lem said. “From the existing long list of options, the cultural assessment will help inform the development of a short list of preferred options to take forward. Using the Better Business Case framework, options will be further analysed using assessment criteria agreed by the Expert Advisory Group and project team.

“Ultimately, the Treasury will report to the Minister of Finance on preferred options and provide associated costings; subject to our plan proceeding as scheduled this will be in late 2022.”

Currently Acid Mine Drainage, including that related to historic Crown mining, is being managed by BT Mining Limited. This project is however focussed the long-term management options for Acid Mine Drainage which will need to be managed long after mining ends.

The aim is to identify the preferred long-term Acid Mine Drainage management solution for the Stockton Plateau. Implementation is not part of the current project, given it will be determined by the preferred solution and timeframe set by Government, however the Treasury views any options identified as a solution to be an enduring solution, in place for as long as it was required.

“The scope of this project is very clear,” Ms van der Lem said, “and that is to find a solution to the enduring acid mine drainage issue created by many decades of state-owned mining operations on this land. It may be that options could have other benefits for the community or commercially but that is not our primary objective – our brief is to manage the impacts of years of mining and ensure the West Coast environment is protected first and foremost.”

The Treasury anticipates sharing information as options are progressed towards a short list.

“We want the community and stakeholder groups to be well-informed, and able to feed into the project as appropriate.”

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