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By Dene Mackenzie

The long awaited start to getting development of the big new West Coast export coking coal mine underway has started. All that is needed now is a lift in the coal price.

Vector has often been one of the first to speak on Commerce Commission decisions on regulating energy prices, and it was quick off the mark on a new draft proposal yesterday.

Includes following attachments:
- Commerce Commission announcement. (62.6 kilobytes)

One of the Canadian companies exploring and producing hydrocarbons in NZ believes the past year has been a life changer.

The latest disappointment with offshore exploration in New Zealand waters was declared official early this week.

The need to increase the education and training for engineers in New Zealand has prompted a new push by the Government.

A key Canterbury energy provider weathered a tough year to bring in a profit line better than the previous year.

There are direct reduction iron steel production plants in many parts of the world and the Melbourne-based owner of NZ Steel looked at one such development in the United States.

Diversity and flexible operations made life easier for one of New Zealand’s major energy suppliers despite the fact it was achieving electricity prices lower than a year before.

Includes following attachments:
- Genesis operational report. (498.5 kilobytes)

Another well is to be drilled in an onshore Taranaki producing field, this time by a joint venture.

Recent News

Gold News

An international mining research group has taken a hard look at the gold sector and sees an exploration downturn as potentially impacting future global mine supply.

An analysis of the recent performance of OceanaGold by a NZ stockbroking firm shows the impact the company’s new Philippines gold-copper mine is having.

Another director has left Coromandel Gold as this subsidiary company looks to take on a management team and develop a life of its own.

A leading Australian mining contractor has retained an important gold mining contract in New Zealand.

OceanaGold is just completing one corporate revolving credit facility and is striking a new and larger arrangement.

Oil & Gas News

The latest dividend declared by Methanex Corporation was undoubtedly helped by the re-establishment of its methanol production facilities in New Zealand.

The buy-out of the Shell service stations and downstream assets in New Zealand a few years ago has produced one temporary millstone for Z Energy.

The big Kiwi energy group Todd Energy is expanding its operating profile in North America.

The Todd petroleum group has made some new appointments for both its New Zealand and North American operations.

A judge in New Plymouth has handed down a custodial sentence to a departing employee who took oil exploration “secrets” with him to join another company.

Coal, Lignite & CSG/CBM News

A rights issue for a major South Island mine development has fallen well short of its target.

Few doubt that the coking coal price will remain near the basement for some time and that may hold up a new coal development in NZ for up to two years.

What happens when you produce figures to show the coal industry was being subsidised by governments in Australia to the tune of billions? Then you are like the Australia Institute and forgetting the reality of royalties and taxes, and personal tax from the jobs you create.

Solid Energy told us early this month that a new severe workforce cut at its flagship Stockton mine and there will also be reduced production.

Bathurst Resources has now jumped all regulatory hurdles and can now do forward planning for its open cut coking coal mine on the Denniston Plateau. All it wants now is a spike in the coal price.

Other Metals & Minerals News

While the blueprints are out for the next stage of exploration at Sam’s Creek, the other iron-in-the-fire for MOD Resources is heating up.

The submissions from groups and individuals on the plan to mine the Chatham Rise seabed for phosphate are now in and the aspiring miner says it is happy with the general support being shown.

The long discussed blueprint to seek dual listing on the London AIM board is now moving forward for Chatham Rock Phosphate.

Trans Tasman Resources said it would appeal the EPA’s special committee decision that rejected its mining consents to mine iron sands off the Taranaki coast.

The third seafloor production tool is now being built by a specialist seabed equipment producer in the United States for Nautilus Resources.

Renewable Energy News

Indonesia is obviously taking note of the renewable energy advances in New Zealand with a big geothermal plant project now advancing in Sumatra.

New Zealand delegates will be joining an international audience at what is seen as the world’s largest annual geothermal conference in late September.

In the commodities markets there are big hedge deals on the price of gold, copper, zinc and other metals and one Kiwi company has taken a new hedge position against periods of poor rainfall.

Investors were told yesterday that Mighty River Power was a global leader on geothermal energy and that this form of energy was a premium performer.

A new wind farm should be operating near Bluff in Southland by the middle of next year.

Environment News

The Tiwai Point aluminium smelter may be Southland’s major employer but its operator has for more than two decades played a pivotal role in preserving the endangered kapako – the world’s biggest parrot.

The wait is over. A marine reserve has been designated for a section of Banks Peninsula.

The environmental alarm bells are again ringing on claims about global warming and rising seas, showing that it would be an idea for the Government and the media to provide some balance to the issue.

In the Taranaki waste from oil and gas operations is being blended with soil but one organisation has got a crack over the knuckles on its remediation work.

There was unanimity in Parliament yesterday for the passage of new legislation to protect marine areas at and near Kaikōura.

Education, Science & Technology News

One of the South Island universities badly damaged by earthquakes is to get a big lick of money to help with the rebuild of its science facilities.

A prominent New Zealand specialist on scientific issues for Antarctica has gained a prestigious international award for his work.

Two prominent geoscientists will be speaking at separate forthcoming AusIMM meetings in two New Zealand cities.

The issues of climate change and global warming are, to many of us, a load of hot air but it will be a much talked-about issue for the election. One geoscientist has provided some interesting technical information.

There have been a series of new appointments to some of the Crown Research Institutes and to other Government research institutions.

Economics, Politics & Government News

Two electorates - Epsom and Te Tai Tokerau - have the ability to decide the election result. Our columnist Dene Mackenzie talks to Act New Zealand Epsom candidate David Seymour about the weight of expectation.

A new opinion poll released yesterday won’t have David Cunliffe dancing for joy.

New Zealand First, the party that wants to share mineral and petroleum royalties with local government now wants to cut immigration

Guess whose photo may be on the bullseye of dart boards at Labour and Green Party social events?

Our political observer sees Labour’s poll hopes looking tougher with the Government now looking as though it could be re-elected to govern in its own right.

Other News

The airing and promotion of listed companies is a growing fad on the internet and one of the latest to be marketed is New Zealand’s TrustPower.

What do you need to do to get media coverage and raise concerns against a resource development project? You make statements you may believe or want to believe, and with the New Zealand media you can often get away with it.

Energy & Resources Minister Simon Bridges has claimed that electricity reforms have worked well for the consumer based on data released yesterday.

The deal struck between Port of Tauranga and the freight company Kotahi has already produced a dividend, apparently at the expense of the Port of Auckland.

Next Thursday has some observers still thinking the Reserve Bank will go ahead with another lift in the official cash rate, but economists interviewed by Radio New Zealand feel some new trends may bring about a re-think.