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Correnso Mine Issues

Waihi East residents affected by the Correnso underground mine in Waihi are urging the Hauraki District Council (HDC) to honour their responsibility to manage the resource consent conditions for the mine more appropriately.

The residents wrote to council early in September detailing their concerns and recommended steps council could take to remedy the discrepancies and misinformation that is confusing people.

Residents say a number of conditions came about during court assisted mediation between them, Newmont Waihi Gold and the HDC and they are concerned that the intent and purpose of the conditions are being ignored by the council to the detriment of residents and the benefit of Newmont Waihi Gold.

Owners of properties above the drives and stopes of the first area to be mined were identified and approached with offers of ex-gratia payments, or to buy their properties.

Even though the initial agreement offers given to homeowners to sign were deemed to be in breach of Correnso resource consent conditions by council’s legal advisors (after homeowners complained), a reply to the residents‘ letter has cited a legal opinion that the agreements already signed still satisfy consent conditions.

On the one hand HDC contacted Newmont Waihi Gold advising them that some of the agreements offered to and signed by residents did not comply and on the other hand council is not prepared to instruct the mining company to withdraw and replace the offers.

Because the values of all Waihi properties are either directly or indirectly affected by mining, residents understood that a condition relating to valuations, which was arrived at during the mediation process, would ensure that their homes would be valued using comparisons, “that ignored the announcement of, and the existence/operation of the Correnso Underground Mine, while including sales data from outside Waihi, ‘if appropriate and any other relevant information’.” However, this has not been the case, and HDC have indicated that they have no legal responsibility to determine the process of valuing properties; only to ensure that an offer has been made pursuant to the conditions.

Latest sales data for the area shows that Waihi property values have dropped significantly in relation to those of neighbouring towns. This makes it both appropriate and necessary to include sales data from outside areas when arriving at a fair market value of Waihi Properties. The intent of condition 51 was to ensure that those residents directly and adversely affected by the mining would be able to purchase a replacement home elsewhere at a
comparable value, and it is critical that they are able to do so.

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