Greenpeace activists shut down a pit of a southern lignite coal mine used by Fonterra to help fuel operations at it's nearby Edendale dairy factory, labeliing it another Fonterra Climate Crime, near Invercargill, 17 November 2009. At dawn this morning activists unfurled a massive 40x40 meter banner reading Fonterra Climate Crime on the ground of the opencast mine. Other activists have blocked one of the entrances and locked themselves onto some of the mine's machinery.
The activity at the New Vale mine, near Gore, comes two months
after Greenpeace exposed Fonterra's role in rainforest destruction
for palm based animal feed.
Lignite coal from the mine is used to power four milk
dehydrators at Edendale, the world's largest milk processing plant
(1). In September a new dehydrator was commissioned increasing
Edendale's lignite coal consumption by 60 per cent and Fonterra's
overall coal use by 17 per cent.
Lignite coal is one of the dirtiest fossil fuels. In the coming
year Edendale will burn 179,000 tonnes of lignite which contributes
to the release of over 250,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is
the same as the emissions from more than 87,000 cars in one year
At dawn this morning activists unfurled a massive 40 by 40 metre
banner, reading Fonterra Climate Crime on the ground of the
opencast mine. Other activists have blocked one of the entrances
and locked themselves onto some of the excavating machinery.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer said three weeks out
from the Copenhagen international climate talks Fonterra remained
the biggest block to New Zealand doing its bit on climate
"The Government needs to bring Fonterra under control. Fonterra
always goes for the cheapest alternative like dirty lignite coal
for energy or unsustainable palm kernel, grown at the expense of
Indonesian rainforests, for animal feed. This is being driven by
its intensification of dairying in New Zealand (3). It would be in
Fonterra and New Zealand's interests to preserve the land and our
clean green brand."
By being exempt from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), until
2015, agricultural greenhouse gas emitters are currently receiving
a $1.1 billion subsidy from taxpayers (4).
"This is a direct subsidy that will allow Fonterra to continue
to increase its greenhouse gas emissions at the expense of the
Boxer said Fonterra was putting profit before the climate.
"Fonterra should take responsibility for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions. It could start by changing to alternative fuels, stop
imports of palm kernel animal feed and encouraging lower intensity
farming practices to provide a secure base for our industry, our
economy and our environment."
Fonterra processes milk from 95 per cent of New Zealand dairy
farmers and had made a deliberate choice to power its milk
dehydrators using carbon emitting fossil fuels.
"In its submissions to the Electricity Market Review, Fonterra
criticised renewable energy resources, advocating instead for
expanding coal use (5). Now the Government is looking at changing
the rules to allow mining of conservation land."
Fonterra is one of the biggest coal users in New Zealand with
eight of its milk processing plants burning approximately 450,000
tonnes per year (6).
Other contacts: Simon Boxer, Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner, 021 905 579
Dean Baigent-Mercer, Greenpeace New Zealand communications & media, 021 104 4101
Phil Crawford, Greenpeace New Zealand communications & media, 021 2299 594
Notes: (1) According to http://www.odt.co.nz/news/farming/64974/southern-plant-will-be-world039s-biggest
(2) Based on average car driving 14,000 km per year (http://labelling.fuelsaver.govt.nz) and the average car emitting 203.8g CO2/km in 2009 (Press release by The Minister for Transport, 28 August, 2009) giving an average annual emissions of 2.853 tonnes of CO2/year/car