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Renewed gold mining threat to Central North Island

Renewed gold mining threat to Central North Island


Kokako

Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says Central North Island land next to Mt Tarawera is more valuable as it is than as it would be as a gold mine.

Simon Bridges today announced that a mining company will be able to explore and prospect the 9400* hectares of land for gold.

Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the area, in the Tarawera Forest north east of Mt Tarawera, includes gullies of native bush and forms an important part of the vista from the top of the volcano out to the Bay of Plenty and the Ureweras.

“We’re hugely relieved that none of the kokako habitat that was put up for tender by the government for mining exploration has been sold off. But it still could be. Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said today that the huge area put up in August for tender by gold miners will be available for fresh tenders straight away.

“This area covers most of the Bay of Plenty down to Taupo. It includes some of the North Island’s most important native habitats, and also happens to be where huge numbers of North Islanders go to play.

“And of course Rotorua and its lakes attract huge numbers of tourists,” Kevin Hackwell says.

Only 1280 pairs of the North Island kokako are thought to remain. The tender process includes land on which approximately 30 per cent of those birds live on.

The South Island kokako is or is nearly extinct.

“As we know, gold mining is an extremely dirty industry that destroys landscapes and creates huge quantities of toxic waste.”

Several tonnes of toxic waste is created to produce enough gold for a single ring.

“The government should never have put these areas up for tender, and by allowing it to be open to future tenders from today, it is putting at risk our natural heritage, our lifestyle, and our tourism sector,” Kevin Hackwell says.

* A permit to explore an area of 3296 ha was granted to Silver City NZ Pty Ltd, as well as a permit to prospect an adjacent area of 6104 ha.

Ends

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