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Good riddance to mining co, but seabed not safe

16 November 2006

Good riddance to mining company, but seabed not safe yet

It's great news that Australian mining company Bonaparte Diamond Mines has abandoned plans to prospect for minerals around the top of the South Island, but there's no guarantee that other companies won't do so in future, Green Party MP Metiria Turei says.

"I'm greatly relieved by Bonaparte Diamond Mines' decision, because the proposed mining could have been extremely damaging for the marine environment around the beautiful areas of Golden Bay, Farewell Spit, and Kahurangi Point," Mrs Turei says.

"The risk of damage to the seabed and marine life on the seabed is very high from this type of activity, and there are also potential dangers for marine mammals. Given the area's proximity to several marine reserves and national parks, it would have been disastrous to have such environmentally dangerous activity going on in this area.

"However, Bonaparte's departure is nothing more than a lucky break. The only reason they have abandoned their plans is because they feel they have more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. There are no regulatory provisions that would prevent a similar proposal from going ahead in future.

"The Crown Minerals Act still allows prospecting permits to be issued without public consultation. The Government has promised to amend the law, but the change so far has not been forthcoming. In fact, another permit application is already underway in an adjoining area.

"The Green Party urges the Government to act on this issue before more of our beautiful natural heritage and delicate marine environment is threatened by the prospecting of overseas companies," Mrs Turei says.

ENDS

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