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Right Decision On Mt Burnett's Endangered Species

Minister Makes Right Decision Saving Mt Burnett's Endangered Species

12 March 2004: After 3 years of waiting, the Minister of Conservation’s decision to turn down OMYA Ltd’s application to push a mining road through an internationally significant area is a welcome relief says the Dolomite Action Group.

“Today’s decision means a battle has been won to prevent these unique species going the same way as the moa and huia”, says Dolomite Action Group spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer.

Mt Burnett is a completely unique environment. The type of shrubland and forest growing on Mt Burnett’s dolomite rock exists nowhere else in the world. This includes plants and a snail who’s global population is limited only to Mt Burnett, as well as many other plants that the Department of Conservation lists as threatened with extinction.

60% of the endemic Mt Burnett stunted forest have been wiped out since mining began in 1959.

Botanists have named two species (Myrsine argentea and Carex dolomitica) that only live on Mt Burnett and believe there may be more.

“Apart from all the scientific facts and figures, Mt Burnett is a really amazing place where thin gnarled trunks of wind shorn trees zigzag up from fins of dolomite marble. It is better than anything shown in Lord of the Rings,” says Dolomite Action Group spokesperson Dean Baigent-Mercer.

OMYA Ltd is a 100% Swiss-owned multinational who lobbied to cut a seventh tier across Mt Burnett in 2000 by arguing that it would allow them 20 years more mining. The bench approval was granted in 2001. There was never any real reason for this road as OMYA had more than enough dolomite to mine until their 21-year dolomite mining licence expires on 14 Feb 2006.

“A small group of conservationists have won the battle in stopping this unnecessary mining road – but we will be continuing our work to ensure OMYA don’t get approvals to continue mining past 2006”.

For more info on the OMYA and their activities see www.vce.org

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