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

 

Macraes Gold Mine Is Political Test For Government

SUNDAY, 12 August 2001
MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

MACRAES GOLD MINE IS POLITICAL TEST FOR GOVERNMENT


The decision on whether to allow a hard rock gold mine on conservation land near Reefton is a major test of Government's commitment to sustainable development, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society says.

Conservation Minister Sandra Lee is expected to make a decision shortly on GRD Macraes' application to establish its proposed Globe Progress mine in Victoria Conservation Park. The current proposed mine would cover 550ha and be double the size of the mine agreed in principle by the former Conservation Minister, Denis Marshall in 1993.

"Hard rock gold mining is "dirty development" - the antithesis of the clean green, knowledge society which Government is promoting," Forest and Bird field officer, Eugenie Sage said.

"The mine may create 80-120 short term jobs for its 7-10 year life but at a huge environmental cost. This cost includes the destruction of at least 290 ha of beech and beech/ rimu forest, damage to a larger area, the creation of New Zealand's largest toxic waste dump, permanent pollution problems from acid mine drainage, and the risk of catastrophic damage to the Inangahua and Buller Rivers if either of the two tailings dumps fractures or subsides.

"No sensible regional development policy can be based on ecological devastation," Ms Sage said.

"What is now a peaceful, substantially forested landscape would become a large, noisy, and dangerous industrial area if the mine went ahead, said Ms Sage.

"Devils Creek valley would be filled with a 90-112 metre high earth/rock tailings dam (New Zealand's second largest after Benmore) and dump, and a 200 metre high waste rock stack. A forested ridgeline would be excavated to become a 300 metre deep pit into which one could drop the whole of Reefton township."

"The Department of Conservation has estimated that the forest clearance alone could cause the loss of between 100 and 1040 South Island robin and 80 to 200 weka, and reduce habitat for endangered kaka, kakariki (parakeets), long tailed bats and mistletoe."

"A "yes" to the mine would signal that it is jobs at any cost and that Government statements on sustainable development are empty rhetoric," Ms Sage said.

"Leadership on sustainable development requires vision and a commitment to the landscapes, plants, and wildlife that make New Zealand unique, not being trapped in the dirty development and resource abuse of the past."

Ends

Notes to media 1. Prime Minister, Helen Clark said in July, "The Government wants New Zealand to become a world leader in sustainable development. New Zealand takes environmental issues very seriously, both at home and at the international level... We want to make a strong statement on our approach at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa next year, a decade after the Rio Earth Summit." Speech to formal welcome of Dr Klaus Topfer, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme

2. The proposed Globe Progress mine would create New Zealand's largest toxic waste dump with a 46 ha open pit, two waste rock stacks (105 ha) which would generate acid mine drainage and two tailings dumps with a tailings contaminated by heavy metals. The 90 metre high earth rock dam on the Devils Creek tailings dump would be New Zealand's second highest earth dam after Benmore (118m). It would be higher than the Clyde dam (a 75 metre high concrete dam).

3. The mine would increase the power demand on the West Coast by more than a third, causing more environmental damage. Hard rock mining is energy intensive and the mine would require an around the clock supply of 12 MW. Current West Coast power demand is 36 MW with local dams producing 16MW.

Trustpower says its proposed Dobson hydro development is needed to supply Macraes and the proposed Pike River coal mine. The $100 million Dobson scheme would be the biggest hydro development since the Clyde Dam. It would involve diverting much of the flow of the Arnold River and flooding podocarp forest in the Card Creek Ecological Area near Greymouth.

4. The mine would undermine New Zealand's commitment under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse emissions. DoC has estimated that potential methane and CO2 emissions (from rotting vegetation and lost soil carbon from vegetation clearance) would equate to almost 1 % of New Zealand's annual greenhouse emissions and are the equivalent of 930,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (in global warming potential).


Contact: Eugenie Sage, field officer, phone (03)3666-317 (wk) or (03)3371-251 (hm); or Eric Pyle, Conservation Manager - phone (04)385-7374 work; (025)227-8420;

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Earthquake Cluster: Tsunami Threat To Land & Marine Areas

This is a Tsunami Warning for New Zealand coastal areas following the magnitude 8.1 earthquake near KERMADEC ISLANDS REGION.
There is a LAND and MARINE TSUNAMI THREAT. An Emergency Mobile Alert will be issued to the areas under land and marine tsunami threat. Listen to local civil defence authorities and follow any instructions regarding evacuation of your area... More>>


 

Joint Press Release: Dirty PR Exposed In Whale Oil Defamation Trial

Three public health advocates are relieved that their long-standing Whale Oil defamation trial against Cameron Slater, Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich and the Food and Grocery Council has finally concluded and they are pleased that the truth has come out... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Next Stage Of COVID-19 Support For Business And Workers

The Government has confirmed details of COVID-19 support for business and workers following the increased alert levels due to a resurgence of the virus over the weekend... More>>

ALSO:




Government: PHARMAC Review Announced

The Government is following through on an election promise to conduct an independent review into PHARMAC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little announced today... More>>

ALSO:



Government: Balanced Economic Approach Reflected In Crown Accounts

New Zealand’s economic recovery has again been reflected in the Government’s books, which are in better shape than expected.
The Crown accounts for the seven months to the end of January 2021 were better than forecast in the Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU)... More>>


Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels