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Hapu Tell Mining Exploration Company to Relinquish Permits

Hapu Tell Mining Exploration Company to Relinquish Permits and Call for Broad Support

Whakapara, 8 April 2013 - Today kaumātua of Ngāti Hau called an urgent hui and have sent a formal message to exploration company De Grey Mining Ltd telling the company to relinquish all exploration permits within their tribal area and have asked other hapū, community groups and people to unite in their support to protect water, wāhi tapu, land and people from the threat of toxic mining centred on Puhipuhi.

Last year the Government transferred a gold and silver exploration licence over Puhipuhi from mining giant Newmont to Australian exploration company De Grey Mining Ltd. Puhipuhi is a mountain 30 km north of Whangārei with the largest known gold deposit in Northland. The mountain forms the headwaters of many springs, streams and rivers that flow to the Bay of Islands, Helena Bay, Mimiwhangata and across the Hikurangi Swamp (a major dairy farming area) out to the Kaipara Harbour (the largest breeding site of snapper in the country).

“It is unfortunate that the Government has misled De Grey Mining and their shareholders with this exploration permit. De Grey Mining intends to drill core samples soon and we want to make it clear they are not welcome at all”, said Dr Benjamin Pittman, Ngāti Hau kaumātua. “Our paramount responsibility is to protect our water source and we do not consent to drilling or mining which could lead to contamination of waterways above and below ground with mercury and other heavy metals. We are taking this stance for all who live in this area.”

The process to remove the gold would create vast amounts of toxic waste, conservatively 18 tonnes of toxic waste for one gold ring, in an area that is extremely flood prone. Ngāti Hau of Whakapara are the most affected hapu within De Grey exploration permit.

“We open the door and welcome support from hapū, iwi and all concerned Northlanders and New Zealanders for our position at Ngati Hau in opposing this exploration permit and mining of Puhipuhi,” said Dr Pittman.

The open letter is available here and will be copied to the Minister of Energy and Resources, the Prime Minister, the Governor General, the Queen of England and the United Nations.


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