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Forest & Bird delighted Golden Bay safe

Forest & Bird delighted Golden Bay safe from prospecting threat

Forest & Bird is delighted that mineral prospecting and potential seabed mining that could have seriously damaged the marine environment in Golden Bay will not go ahead.

Crown Minerals had approved an application by Bonaparte Diamond Mines Ltd to prospect over 3300 square kilometres covering all of Golden Bay and around Farewell Spit and down to Kahurangi Point. The company has now said it has relinquished its permit and will not go ahead with prospecting because it has more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.

Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says the news came as a great relief to Forest & Bird’s Golden Bay Branch, who had joined with iwi and other community groups in Golden Bay to fight for protection of the area from prospecting.

If mining had gone ahead it could have seriously damaged the seabed and its marine life, as well as having potentially harmful effects on marine mammals, Debs Martin says.

The prospecting area adjoined Farewell Spit Nature Reserve, Westhaven Marine Reserve and Abel Tasman National Park – areas which protect some of the region’s most vulnerable and beautiful natural habitats and species, she says.

“The natural environment here is one of the most precious assets of our region. We are enormously pleased that this valuable natural heritage will not be threatened by commercial exploitation by a foreign-owned mining company.”

However the Crown Minerals Act still allowed prospecting permits to be issued without consultation with the public other than a requirement to consult iwi, despite repeated promises by the Government to change the law, Debs Martin says.

The same lack of public consultation that arose over the Golden Bay application was also occurring elsewhere – another application for a permit over both Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks is already proceeding without any opportunity for the public to have a say.

ends

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