MAC/20: Mines and Communities

New Zealand: Coromandel Watchdog shuts Newmont exploration drilling

Published by MAC on 2013-07-09
Source: Statement, AAP

Protest halts Newmont Gold work in New Zealand


7 July 2013

PROTESTERS have occupied a mining exploration site on conservation land in New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula.

The protest, in the Parakiwai Valley near Whangamata, stopped work at the site during the weekend.

Coromandel Watchdog spokeswoman Renee Annan said about 10 protesters asked workers to turn the drilling rig off on Saturday morning and the two groups had remained in a calm stand off since.

Newmont Gold executives flew in by helicopter and told the protesters they were trespassing, Ms Annan told AAP.

However, there was no sign of police getting involved yet, she said.

The area should have been included in Schedule Four Conservation land when the park was created, she said.

It was home to the critically endangered Archey's frog species, and other rare species such as Helms butterfly and Coromandel brown kiwi.

Ms Annan said that while the drilling was only exploratory, it should still be banned from conservation land.

The group would give Newmont the information it needed to decide whether or not to mine.

"Any kind of mining is totally inappropriate in this area."

Newmont could not be contacted for comment.

Coromandel Watchdog Activists Camping on Gold Drill Rig

Coromandel Watchdog statement

7 July 2013

Watchdog activists peacefully shut down a Newmont gold drilling rig in the Parakiwai Valley since 8am on Saturday July 6.

"Activists have continued to camp overnight on the gold drilling rig, ensuring operations are unable to continue in this sensitive conservation area," said Coromandel Watchdog Coordinator Renee Annan.

The rig has been off for over 24 hours and more Coromandel residents are joining the action today in a remote part of the conservation area.

"We are committed to protecting this habitat for endangered native species including one of the rarest frogs in the world, the Archey's Frog."

"We are here to represent all New Zealanders who value the environment and we believe mining in this beautiful environment and recreation area is unacceptable" Ms Annan said.

"By an accident of history this area is not protected by Schedule 4 but it should be, so we are holding our ground here to promote the values of this site.

Activists will be joined by residents who are gathering at the Parakiwai Quarry entrance to the forest park at 10am.

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