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Hundreds protest against mining in the Karangahake Gorge

Hundreds protest against mining in the Karangahake Gorge

The sunshine came out for the 300 hundred people who gathered in the Karangahake Gorge to protest against gold mining operations which have recently started there.

The protest was organised by local residents and supported by Coromandel Watchdog and local Iwi. People had traveled from as far afield as Auckland, Tauranga and the very Northern Coromandel Peninsula to show their opposition to the mine. Signs “Karangahake No More Mining” and “Karangahake: Enjoy not Destroy” were amongst the many on display.

Speeches included local iwi, locals, Coromandel Watchdog and Coromandel electoral candidates Catherine Delahunty and Korbinian Poschl.

Iwi expressed their desire to see the mountain protected so it’s life supporting abilities would return to what they were before the historical mining which caused the river to become deemed a mine ‘slurry’.

Fourth generation Karangahake resident, and closest neighbour to the mine Mark Beach expressed anger at the lack of consultation and communication, with the resource consent process and over the last weeks as the work has started. He said one day the trucks were going up and down all day which is a huge safety issue for residents who live along the small winding road that leads to the mine.

Local resident Sabina Hartmann said New Talisman Gold was doing more than just an exploratory dig.

“They say this is only exploration but I’ve read their shareholder’s report and their work plan and this isn’t exploration - this is mining.

“This is them establishing themselves - they plan on taking 20 000m3 out of the mountain this year.”

Coromandel Watchdog campaign manager Ruby Powell stated

“There is a huge amount of support from people in the surrounding area and one of the reasons is they have seen what has happened to Waihi; the mining company never kept to their promises, the local economy is suffering and the jobs are coming to a foreseeable end.”

Powell added that she thought part of the reason mining in the gorge has been received with widespread outrage is because of its recreational value.

“The Karangahake Gorge is a place of national significance and that is why this is an national issue. It is not just the locals that stand to lose their way of life, but the huge number of people who regularly visit the gorge to enjoy the DOC walks and Hauraki Rail Trail will also be affected.

People should vote left if they want to see the Coromandel protected, she said.

"From the candidates that showed up today, and those who did not, it is clear that if we want any chance of protecting New Zealand's precious conservation land we have to make sure we vote Green or Labour this election."

The Labour party and Green party both have policies to extend Schedule 4 to include the Karangahake Gorge.

There is a public meeting being held at the Paeroa War Memorial Hall Tuesday 16th September 6pm which Hauraki District Council and the electoral candidates have also been invited to.

© Scoop Media

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