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The Kopako open cut coal mine located 70 kilometres south of Auckland, near the town of Kopuku, produces sub-bituminous coal for local milk procesing plants. The mine is owned and operated by Glencoal Energy Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Fonterra, New Zealand's largest dairy company.

The Kopako 3 Mine is to be Replaced by the Maramarua Open Pit
The Kopako 3 open cut mining operation is due to be completed around 2017, however, mining activities in the district will continue beyond that date with the opening up of coal reserves held by Glencoal Energy Limited in the Maxwell blocks, which make up the eastern development of Kopuku that takes in the Maramarua coal field. The Maxwell and Stirling blocks are part of the last remaining low sulphur open cut coal deposits that can be developed at low cost. Glencoal is in the process of replacing the 20 odd year Waikato Kopako 3 coal mine with the Maramarua mine being developed on 30 hectare of farmland in north Waikato.

Glencoal, the Owner and Operator of the Kopako 3 Mine is Wholly Owned by Fonterra
Glencoal has been mining coal on behalf of its parent company Fonterra, in the Waikato region of New Zealand since 1919, for the sole purpose of supplying the long term energy requirements for the dictricts dairy factories. It has been producing coal from the Maramarua coal field since 1946 when the company purchased the United Coal Company and began mining of the Kopako open cut mines. Glencoal joined forces with the New Zealand government owned, Coal Corporation (Coalcorp,) which became Solid Energy in 1997, to develop the Kopako I and 2 open pits to supply coal to the Meremere power station in 1958. The Meremere power station was closed in 1991. The Kopako 2 open pit was mined out in 1996 with this loss being replaced by the Kopako 3 open pit mine. Kopako pits 1 and 2 were then flooded. Kopako 3 coal is transported back to the company's Coalfields Road processing plant for treatment.

Kopako Sourced Coal Used in Fonterra's Dairy Plants
Coal derived from the Kopako mine is used to fire the boilers at the Fonterra's Te Awamutu, Hautapu and Waitoa milk processing facilities. The boilers create high pressure steam that is used for making electricity and low pressure steam used for evaporating water contained in the production of concentrated milk powder.

Fonterra has decided to continue operating its own coal mine rather than buying coal from New Zealand's largest coal producer, Solid Energy, as it claims it is the cheaper of the two options. The new Maramarua open pit mine that is to replace the Kopako 3 mine is expected to produce around 120,000 tonnes of coal annually. When ready, the current worforce of six fulltime employees and 19 contractors working at the Kopako 3 operation, will be transferred to work at the new mine which could take up to two years to develop. The Maramarua open pit mine will also supply sub- bituminous, high energy value, low sulphur, low carbon and high moisture coal, much the same as that produced at the Kopako 3 open pit mine. It is the type of coal predominantly mined for the purposes of generating thermal energy. As there is no railway system in the mine area the coal will be trucked from the Coal Handling and Preparation Plant located near the mining operation to Fonterra's various milk processing factories.



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