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Fonterra addicted to coal, protesters say

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/04/2016

Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. is the world's biggest dairy exporter. © Brendon O'Hagan/Bloomberg Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd. is the world's biggest dairy exporter. Coal Action Network Aotearoa is accusing Fonterra of being addicted to coal at protests around the country.The group is angry the dairy co-operative wants to use coal to fuel a huge expansion at its Studholme plant near Waimate, South Canterbury.

CANA spokeswoman Jeanette Fitzsimons, a former Green Party co-leader, says Fonterra is "behaving like an addict searching desperately for an ever-bigger fix", and is already New Zealand's second-largest user of coal.

Protesters will be at Fonterra's head offices in Auckland from 1pm, at the Christchurch office in Halswell from 8am and at the Edendale plant in Southland from 11.30am.

Environment Canterbury and Waimate District Council have received applications for resource consents to expand the capacity of the plant at Studholme on State Highway 1 and hearings are being held in Waimate from Monday.

The expansion covers 26ha and is in two stages, according to applications. It involves the construction of two dryers with associated discharge stacks, two additional coal-fired boilers, new powder dry-store buildings, rail sidings and loading facilities, a new milk reception and tanker wash facilities and an upgraded domestic wastewater facility.

The construction workforce is estimated to peak at 700 workers and the permanent workforce is expected to increase from 50 to 150 operational staff and 15 to 150 tanker drivers.

The total vehicle movements are estimated to increase from 162 per day to 529 during stage one and to 1237 for stage two, according to resource consent applications.

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