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Govt's Mineral Strategy An Environmental Disaster In The Making

"The government's 'Draft Mineral Strategy' released this week by Minister for Resources Shane Jones is a disaster in the making for the environment, the climate and people as more and more rural communities will have to battle these companies whose sole purpose is to accumulate wealth for their rich shareholders" says Urs Signer, member of Climate Justice Taranaki.

"In Blackball, only 30kms from the Pike River coal mine where in 2010 29 miners lost their lives, Jones made the farcical statement that the 'safety and wellbeing of our people and communities is non-negotiable'. In the draft strategy, there is very little on how to actually improve the safety of workers. In fact, the 14-page document is incredibly vacuous and devoid of any substance."

"For Taranaki, vanadium and titanium are singled-out as minerals to be extracted through seabed mining which has been vehemently opposed by hapū and iwi across the region, community organisations, fishing groups as well as the South Taranaki District Council. Other than a couple of investors, seabed mining has literally zero support in Taranaki."

"Secondly, the discussion document's map refers to so-called 'natural hydrogen' (sometimes called white, gold or geologic hydrogen) that may - or may not - be present underground in the King Country and down into Taranaki. The problem is, Jones himself stated uncertainty in a media release only last month whether the Crown can even claim ownership of natural hydrogen under the Crown Minerals Act. [1] Furthermore, GNS Science recently noted that '[natural hydrogen] is present in remote locations and likely not at the scale required to develop commercially'. [2]"

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"This draft strategy is a pathetic attempt to coax investors and mining companies to the South Pacific at a time when the whole world is transitioning from linear and extractive processes towards circular economies where both communities and the environment thrives. Our movements and communities are ready to defend the earth against the government's attempt to fill the pockets of their rich mates" concludes Urs Signer.

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