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Nz Coal Deposits Essay

2647 words - 11 pages

Introduction to New Zealand’s Coal Resources
►OVERVIEW...................................2 Coal in the New Zealand Economy ..2 Coal resources - ownership ..............2 ►PRODUCTION ..............................3 Domestic markets .............................3 Exports .............................................4 Imports..............................................4 ►GOVERNMENT PARTICIPATION 5 ►PERMITTING & CONSENTS .......6 Producers .........................................6 ►LEGISLATION...............................8 Acts and Regulations........................8 Minerals & Coal Royalty Regime ......8 ►USEFUL RESOURCES .............. 11 Contact details ................................ ...view middle of the document...

The South Island lignites are being evaluated for their potential as a feedstock for large-scale petrochemical processing into a range of possible energy products including transport fuels, briquettes and fertilizers. Sub-bituminous and bituminous in-ground resources are approximately 3.5 billion tonnes, but recoverable quantities of these coals have not been fully established. Exploration activity throughout New Zealand’s coalfields is mainly directed at the conversion of known resources to reserves. Coking coal resources are all on the West Coast of the South Island. New Zealand coking coals cover prime hard coking, semi-hard and semi-soft coking coals. A major proportion of remaining resources can only be accessed by underground mining in difficult conditions. More detailed information can be found on the New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals website.

Coal is New Zealand’s most abundant fossil fuel and has been an important energy source since the late nineteenth century. New Zealand coal production in 2010 was 5.3 million tonnes, 17% up from 2009 production of 4.6 million tonnes. This is mostly due to the restoration of production levels at Solid Energy’s two bituminous mines, Stockton and Spring Creek, which had been reduced for 2009 by industrial action and reduced export orders resulting from the global financial crisis. Most production is of bituminous and sub-bituminous coals. Although lignite makes up 80% of national coal resources, lignite production of 295,000 tonnes in 2010 represented only 6% of total production, partly as a consequence of distance from the main centres of energy demand. All lignite is produced in the lower South Island. Solid Energy, owner of the two largest West Coast mines, was responsible for around 85% of the national production. Production is centred on the Waikato (2 million tonnes), and the West Coast (2.7 million tonnes). The remaining production is from Otago and Canterbury. Five underground and 16 opencast mines were operating in 2010. Over 59% of national production was from two large opencast operations, at Rotowaro and Stockton. State-owned Solid Energy was responsible for over 82% of national production. A number of smaller private coal mining companies produced the remainder.

Domestic markets
Coal accounts for approximately 4% of New Zealand’s total consumer energy supply. The biggest domestic users in 2010 were the Huntly power station (around 0.6 million tonnes) and the Glenbrook steel mill (around 0.8 million tonnes). In 2010, electricity generation (including cogeneration) accounted for 37% of domestic coal use, other transformation (mainly steel making) 19%, the industrial sector 37% and the commercial sector 2%. Industrial coal use was primarily for cement, lime and plaster, meat, dairy and other food processing, wool, timber, and pulp and paper products. Commercial coal use was mainly for heating accommodation and service buildings in central and local government, hospitals,...

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