A subsidiary of dairy giant Fonterra, Glencoal Energy, will be applying for resource consents to develop an open cast mine at Maramarua to replace the company’s mature Kokako Three (K3) mine in the same region of the Waikato.
Glencoal has a licence over the area and has a resource target aimed at producing 120,000 tonnes per annum, like K3.
Fonterra plans public consultation meetings on the site and at Mangatawhiri Hall on Tuesday, where it will show technical and rehabilitation plans for the land.
There is an abandoned opencast mine at Maramarua that three years ago Solid Energy was considering reopening.
Fairfax News said Fonterra's decision to develop another mine itself was understood to have been because of cost and security of supply.
Fairfax’s Waikato Times sought a Government response to Fonterra's claim it was cheaper to develop its own new mine than buy coal from Solid Energy, but received no response.
Glencoal indicated it would be transferring its K3 workforce to the new project when commissioned.
Fonterra’s national consents manager, David Wright, could not say whether any more jobs would be created by a new mine.
As is the case with K3, coal from the new mine would be trucked to a nearby processing plant and then trucked to Fonterra's sites because no rail facility is available.
Wright said the new mine would take up to two years to start producing and have a six to seven year life.
Waikato District Mayor Alan Sanson learnt of Fonterra's mine plan a month ago but won't get to hear residents' views until a public meeting next Tuesday.
He said the area is "no stranger" to coal mines.
"The difference here is that it's a green fields site on the other side of State Highway 2 when normally it's been around Kopuku and not closer to Maramarua or Mangatangi like this one is."
Sources: stuff.co.nz and tvnz.co.nz