As this graph shows, much of the growth in coal production in the 15 years from 1989 was on the West Coast. In the early 1990s, production in that area was less than 1 million tonnes, but by 2004 it was over 2.5 million tonnes, and the area was producing more than the Waikato fields. Waikato production increased after 2000, while the Otago and Southland fields showed little growth.
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Source: Annual Parliamentary reports: Mines Department; Ministry of Energy; and Crown Minerals, Ministry of Economic Development.