Group of high-profile Kiwis fighting new Coromandel mine

Source: 1News

A group of high-profile Kiwis are calling for unity to fight proposals for a new mine on conservation land in Coromandel.

The extension of OceaniaGold's mine at Wharekirauponga is 10 kilometres north of Waihi and close to Whangamatā.

In 2017, Labour promised there'd be no new mines and the group is demanding Jacinda Ardern keeps that promise.

The proposal from Australian mining giant OceanaGold is the first real test of that pledge.

The Ours Not Mines group has been set up to oppose the mine.

Location of the proposed mine, 10 kilometres north of Waihi.

“I've grown up there and I feel a huge affiliation to the land and the people, and I think a big mine, lots of mines on the Coromandel would be a terrible waste and ruin the beautiful, pristine, bush and land and sea and water for future generations so I want to stand up,“ Morgan Donoghue from Ours Not Mines said.

The land in the Coromandel forest park is home to popular walking tracks, camping spots and waterfalls, and the endangered native Archey's frogs.

Businessman Donoghue has donated "significant sums" of cash to Labour and counts himself a friend of Ardern’s.

“No, it's not something I think I can pick up the phone and ask her to solve, I think it needs a wave of people to say we're against this, you were against this, and make sure she realises the public area against this,” he said.

“This thing just does not stack up.”

OceanaGold hopes to start the resource consent process this year and promises to meet all environmental and social conditions.

“That application hasn't come through to us as decision makers,” Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said.

Labour has begun work on reclassifying certain types of conservation land so that it can't be mined on.

“Whether it's in Waihi or in seabed mining off Taranaki, what we expected to see from this Government is a bold initiative to ban seabed mining, and ban that extractive behaviour and it's what we're not seeing,” Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngawera-Packer said.

OceanaGold says if it gets the go ahead, it will only do so within strict responsible mining commitments.

“There's been no engagement to date, but I welcome all engagement,” Allan said.

The pressure now on the Government to stop the proposal in its tracks and avoid protests.