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Mining Company Plans Threaten Environment And Offer Limited Benefit To Locals

Opinion – Pamela Grealey

Green Party candidate for Coromandel Pamela Grealey is gutted by OceanaGolds plans to expand its mining operations in Waihi and mine conservation land near Whangamata. The company has announced it wants to enlarge its Martha pit in Waihi, develop a …

Green Party candidate for Coromandel Pamela Grealey is gutted by OceanaGold’s plans to expand its mining operations in Waihi and mine conservation land near Whangamata.

The company has announced it wants to enlarge its Martha pit in Waihi, develop a second pit on the outskirts of town and develop a new tailings storage facility under the umbrella of what it calls Project Quattro.

Pamela said:

“I don’t know how to convey strongly enough my deep disappointment at OceanaGold’s recent announcement on Project Quattro and the mining of conservation land at Wharekirauponga.

“We all want to see people in Waihi, and throughout the Coromandel Electorate, sustainably employed – with good pay and fair conditions. However Oceana’s expansion of the Waihi mines, and proposal for mining conservation land, does not fit in at all with the Green Party’s vision for long term sustainable work in the region; our bottom lines of clean water; a healthy natural environment; companies taking responsibility for ‘whole of life’ impacts of their activities; and, above all, the absolute sanctity of public conservation land.

“People have been kept out of areas at Wharekirauponga for several years now by private prospecting and Oceana’s extension of mining there is a less-publicised element of the company’s expansion. The area in the Southern Coromandel Range behind Waihi and Whangamata is home to many threatened species. But it has only been talked about, as far as I can see, in OceanaGold’s overseas investment advice, not in their statements within New Zealand and those that have been given to the people of Waihi.

“The Green Party is absolutely committed to no new mining on or under public conservation land, and I don’t want to see any mining on the Coromandel Peninsula.

“Oceana’s plans pose significant environmental risk and offer limited benefit to local people. After 30 years of mining, Waihi remains one of the poorest towns in the Waikato region.

“Our future lies in sustainable green jobs, not the profitability of an international mining company. Waihi once had a flourishing electronics industry and the idea that Waihi could be a future centre for retrieving and recycling precious metals from e-waste is very appealing.

“We all need our local businesses to be resilient and well equipped to protect the environment. We want them to create less waste, and employ more people than before. The Green Party will ensure government investment is directed toward sustainable business initiatives and supporting a skilled workforce by increasing funding for apprenticeships and training.”

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