Gold mine proposed in Timberlands’ forest.
Forest and Bird is concerned that Timberlands WestCoast may allow access for a new gold mine in north Westland. The proposed mine is on public land managed by Timberlands at Moonlight Creek on the eastern edge of the Paparoa Range.
A miner has applied to the Grey District Council and the West Coast Regional Council for resource consents to mine gold at Moonlight Creek about one and a half kilometres from the start of the Moonlight tramping and walking track near Blackball.
In 1997, a Department of Conservation report assessed the proposed mining area as an area of high conservation value. Beech forests in the Moonlight valley provide habitat for range of wildlife including threatened species such as the great spotted kiwi and kereru (pigeon).
“Forest and Bird is concerned that the proposed mine would result in the clearance of stands of lowland red beech forest which are important for wildlife”, Forest and Bird researcher, Geoff Keey said.
“The mine application area is close to the Moonlight Track which is popular with trampers, campers and fishers. The mine would degrade the recreational experience for these users,” Mr Keey said.
“In all of its propaganda about sustainability, Timberlands doesn’t mention mining. With the Government having stopped Timberlands destructive beech logging scheme, the red beech forests of the Moonlight valley deserve better than to be stripped and the land dug up for a gold mine”.
Forest and Bird is calling on Timberlands as land manager to use section 55 of the Crown Minerals Act to deny access to miners wanting to destroy this area of indigenous forest.
Forest and Bird is critical of the assessment of environmental effects provided by the applicant. “There are no bird surveys, no fish surveys and a very superficial assessment of the impacts of mining and the clearance of the forest on the site. Environmental groups and recreational users have not been consulted,” Mr Keey said.