The decision to approve an open cast mine on conservation land on the Denniston Plateau is "simply immoral", the Green Party says.
The Environment Court today ruled to allow Australian-owned Bathurst Resources to construct the mine.
"The Denniston Plateau isn't just any old piece of the conservation estate," said Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
"Its sandstone plateau ecosystem is home to bonsai gardens of rata, tussock, and pigmy pine; home to great spotted kiwi, carnivorous giant snails, and green geckos."
Ms Delahunty said the open cast coal mine will destroy habitat and increase carbon emissions while the profits go offshore.
"It's simply immoral," she said.
Forest & Bird has described today's decision as a blow for New Zealand.
"This is not just bad news for us, but for New Zealand and the future of our important wildlife and places," said Forest & Bird field officer Debs Martin.
"We are concerned that the Court has backed away from some of the requirements it placed on Bathurst Resources in its first interim decision, without any real change to justify that shift."