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Make No Mistake, Social Licence Is Missing

The Coast Road Resilience Group (CRRG) is "disappointed and determined to fight" the mineral sands operation today consented to proceed at Barrytown, just north of Greymouth.

CRRG Chair Katherine Crick says despite strong arguments and thousands of hours of research and work to warn commissioners against approving both Grey District and West Coast Regional Council consents, the decision released today was deeply disappointing for residents and for the environment.

“This Barrytown mine would be an environmental and community disaster. Around 200 submissions opposing TiGa Minerals and Metals clearly show they are unwanted and seen as an unwelcome intrusion in all our lives and on the environment.

“It wasn’t only submitters that advised against granting these consents as Council-contracted planning advice backed us up. The Director General of the Department of Conservation also argued against the consents, as did several other experts on radiation, hydrology, climate change, seabirds, and tourism.

“There may be very little in the way of economic returns to the West Coast, beyond a few minority shareholders. It’s inconceivable that this TiGa operation will end up with adequate financial backing from any fundraising through the likes of the Australian stock exchange, where investors are well aware of the need for social licence when it comes to mining operations.

“We remain particularly concerned for our unique and precious Westland petrel (Tāiko) and other important birdlife which we believe would be endangered by this major industrial operation in our previously quiet and rural setting.

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“The Coast Road Resilience Group is considering its options in terms of an appeal to the Environment Court. While there are local elected councillors and maybe some national politicians who think all Coasters support mining at all costs, we don’t. We need to save the Barrytown Flats so our children and grandchildren will be able to appreciate a way of life that respects and cares for the environment into the future,” she says.

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