Coromandel Residents Oppose Mining Survey
Local residents and anti-mining group Coromandel Watchdog today blocked Newmont mining activities in forestry and conservation land in the Kauaeranga Valley near Thames and then escorted them from the valley.
“We have discovered that Newmont is carrying out geophyscial surveys with a view to mining in the Kauaeranga Valley,” says Coromandel Watchdog co-ordinator Renee Annan. “The Kauaeranga Valley is a highly valued recreational area with over 80,000 people visiting each summer, many heading up to the world famous Pinnacles.”
Photo credits: Sylvie Boutelje-Chasteau
Local residents stood shoulder to shoulder with Coromandel Watchdog preventing Newmont staff from entering an area where they had been carrying out ground resistivity tests which would identify potential gold deposits. The company staff then decide to leave the valley and were escorted out of the valley by 50 people waving banners saying “No Mining”. Former Green's co-leader Jeanette Fitsimmons and Green MP Catherine Delahunty who live adjacent to the exploration permit supported the protest.
“We know that Newmont and other mining companies have applications or existing permits to explore a large part of the northern Coromandel, and part of this is in Schedule Four land, “ Ms Annan says.
“The public needs to know that the mining companies are still intent on mining Schedule Four land and that despite the victory in 2010, exploration activities cannot be legally stopped on this land. That is why we are taking non-violent direct action.Today's peaceful protest is just the first of many unless Newmont leave our area.”
“Exploration is a huge risk because once a gold deposit is identified, particularly with the current price of gold, the mining company will continue to attempt to expand under or around the conservation estate.”
Ms Annan says that local residents are determined to protect Coromandel from any more mining and are very concerned about the toxic legacy recently identified in a subdivision in Thames.
“We have enough issues to deal with from historical mining, the last thing we need is Newmont expanding out of Waihi into our precious conservation places.”