Saturday, 28 April 2007

International Media report huge cost of moving snails

Moving a population of giant land snails around the Stockton mine on the South Island's west coast, has cost state-owned coal miner Solid Energy around $35 million this financial year.

News of the huge cost to New Zealand's main coal exporter has travelled around the world, with newspapers and websites in the United States, China, South Africa and Australia all publishing articles on the snail situation.

Around 5,300 of what conservationists describe as the "rare" giant Powelliphanta Augustus snails have been found in the area, and are being moved to a new habitat before mining can go ahead. The company expects their search to be completed by June.

Mining in the area has been delayed for 19 months, costing Solid Energy a third of its profit this year. The delays mean the company will lose five export shipments (300,000 tonnes of coal), to China, India, Japan and South Africa.

'Save Happy Valley'
, the unemployed greenie coalition group spearheading the "Save the snails" campaign, claim Solid Energy could have saved money by mining somewhere else.
The anti-mining group has been camping out in the Stockton area for the last year and a half. Their decision to camp near the Stockton ridgeline has compounded delays, with Solid Energy forced to half blasting in the area.

* Taipei Times: Giant snails lose millions for New Zealand coal mine
* Stuff: Row over snails drives down profits
* Whale Oil: The $35 Million Snails

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