Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Macraes Mine Would Impose Large Costs

May 21, 2001

Macraes Mine Would Impose Large Costs On Crown And Environment

Declining GRD Macraes Ltd mining access to Victoria Forest Park would safeguard the Crown against ongoing liability for New Zealand's biggest toxic waste site, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society says.

"A "no" decision would also protect more than 260 ha of important beech forest habitat in the North Westland wildlife corridor and the high wildlife, recreational, and fishery values of the Inangahua and Buller River systems," Forest and Bird field officer, Eugenie Sage said.

"The 75 ha tailings dumps for GRD Macraes' proposed Globe Progress mine at Reefton are more than twice the size of the impoundment at Coeur Gold's troubled Golden Cross mine near Waihi."

"There is a greater risk of subsidence or failure in the tailings dam at the Reefton site because it in an area which is highly faulted and seismically active and has heavy rainfall."

Ms Sage said the mining licence and water permits for the Golden Cross mine in Coromandel were granted on the supposition that the site was geologically stable, when with the additional tailings load it has proved not to be.

"More than $20 million has been spent on trying to remedy the consequences of deep seated instability beneath and downslope from the tailings dam and prevent contamination of the Firth of Thames."

"GRD Macraes can walk away from the Reefton mine site when mining ends in 15-20 years, or sooner if it has financial problems. If subsidence or fractures occur in the tailings impoundments, the Crown could face massive stabilisation and management costs well in excess of the $8 million bond set by local authorities," Ms Sage said.

"An independent audit of the company's resource consent applications highlighted the absence of any comprehensive investigation of land stability on the Globe Progress site. The audit report recommended that the overall stability of the site be investigated and peer reviewed."

Ms Sage said further work was also recommended on current and historic evidence on mass movement and how changes in topography and groundwater in relation to the overall geological structure of the area may precipitate new movement.

"The Minister would be gambling with the health of the conservation park and Buller's rivers if she grants consent, given the limited information about the stability of the site and how it will be affected by the millions of tonnes of waste rock and tailings slurry."

"Any subsidence or failure of the tailings impoundment and the release of contaminated water and tailings with high concentrations of arsenic, antimony, copper, lead and cadmium into surface streams and the Inangahua and Buller River systems would have catastrophic effects on the downstream waterways."

"The 80-120 jobs the company claims the mine will provide, should not obscure the severe environmental and financial costs associated with large scale instability in hard rock gold mines."

"The company is understating the mine's potential impacts by relying on information provided in 1993 for a mine that was less than half the size of current proposal. This is inadequate given the risks involved."


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Lest We Forget: ANZAC Day - WWI 100 Year Anniversary

The Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, will represent the people of New Zealand at the 2018 Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli. On Anzac Day, Dame Patsy will speak at the Joint New Zealand and Australian Dawn Service in Anzac Cove, and at the New Zealand Commemorative Service at Chunuk Bair later that morning... More>>


HiveMind: Fair Enough? How Should New Zealanders Be Taxed?

Have Your Say - Scoop and PEP invite you to share your issues, ideas and perspectives on the NZ tax system with other New Zealanders using Scoop’s HiveMind tool. This Tax HiveMind is intended to complement and feed into the review being run by the Government-appointed Tax Working Group (TWG), which is looking at the fairness, balance and structure of the tax system with a 10-year time horizon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Thompson + Clark & Russia’s World Cup

Daily, the coalition government keeps running into examples of the toxic legacy left behind by National – and just as regularly, even the simple fixes are proving stubbornly difficult to enact. Take the case of the security firm Thompson + Clark ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The GCSB’s Security Hang-Up With Russia

So our GCSB has chimed in, alongside its British, Australian and US allies, with warnings about a “fresh wave” of Russian cyber attacks, although the warning has been curiously framed. More>>


PM's Europe Trip: CHOGM & Bilateral Meetings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is in Europe for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London and meetings with counterparts in Paris and Berlin. More>>


Addressing Climate Change: No New Offshore Exploration Permits

The Coalition Government is taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. More>>


Road Safety Summit: Actions To Improve Identified

The Local Government Road Safety Summit held last week identified actions that will lead to lasting changes to road safety in New Zealand, says Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter. More>>





Featured InfoPages