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Schedule 4 decision sets clear direction for miner

Schedule 4 decision sets clear direction for miner

The voice of Coromandel communities has been clear about mining on and access to Schedule 4 lands.

‘Newmont has heard that loud and clear. Equally as clear was the support from communities in the Coromandel about our compromise strategy as expressed in our submission, which got vast media coverage. We want to ensure that the public are very clear about what our position is and what the Government’s decision really means, so no misunderstandings occur in the future’, says Newmont Waihi Gold External Affairs manager Kelvyn Eglinton.

‘The Schedule 4 debate was often based on incomplete information’, says Eglinton. ‘Now that a decision has been made, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of the actual situation’.

‘Schedule 4 land cannot be mined by open cast methods. This has always been the case. There is provision in the legislation for underground mining methods and any surface portal would have to be on land outside Schedule 4 boundaries. The Pike River coal mine on the West Coast of the South Island is an example’.

Privately owned land above the ‘Green Line’ ¬¬– the Kopu-Hikuai Road ¬– is available for mining, and always has been.

‘This has always been the case’, says Eglinton. ‘Unfortunately facts don’t fit very well on placards and don’t make very good slogans, and so the real situation has been deliberately ignored by some parties’.

‘Newmont Waihi Gold has always stated that our targets are high grade deposits capable of being mined by underground methods. This has not changed. We will continue with our exploration programme. We will continue to work with communities and land owners. We travelled the length of the peninsula explaining this strategy during the debate and got a very good reception. People could see the compromise, could identify we had listened to their concerns, and they could identify the benefits’.

‘Now that we all know which land is not available for mining ¬– and which is ¬– it is no longer acceptable to simply say ‘No’ and refuse to engage. This denies communities the opportunities to assess all the issues.’

‘From our work around the Coromandel we know that protest groups don’t speak on behalf of whole communities. We know that people are willing to explore opportunities and participate in planning to ensure that effects are minimised and benefits realised’.

‘Protest groups have stated that the Coromandel has been ‘saved from mining’ as a result of the recent Government decision. In reality all that has happened is what Newmont Waihi Gold requested: leave Schedule 4 alone’.

‘This isn’t an ‘either-or’ issue. It’s not win or loss. It isn’t a war or a battle. What we need is a reasoned and rational debate. We once again call on the groups that so regularly demand openness, transparency and accountability of the mining industry to show some of these qualities themselves, so that we can work together, they can to find out what we really do, and be presented with some real facts’.

ENDS

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