Ongoing protests against Australian mining company Newcrest on Mt Karangahake show why minerals exploration should be publicly notified and companies need to listen to community concerns before they start mining, the Green Party said.
“Exploratory mining activities should go through a public notification process before they’re consented, to give communities an opportunity to have their voices heard,” Green Party Coromandel-based MP Catherine Delahunty said.
“Hauraki District Council has failed its community by shutting people out of the resource consent process for minerals exploration on Mt Karangahake.
“When people don’t get a say in the official decision-making processes, they have no option but to look for other ways to have their voices heard and defend the environment.
“People hear about minerals exploration and think of something small, but actually exploration often involves major work like drilling and taking large samples from the land. It can be almost full-scale mining.
“Newcrest, Oceana Gold, and New Talisman all have proposals to mine this beautiful area which it is not only important to local people but also to many other New Zealanders and even tourists from overseas.
“The Green Party supports communities protecting their environment when local and national governments have failed to do so, including through peaceful protest.
“This exploratory mining activity is about 300 metres from conservation land in a very important ecological and recreational area, so it’s no wonder local people want to protect the land,” Ms Delahunty said.