Maori tribe want mining exploration halted

Local residents living in and around Northland, New Zealand are protesting against hard rock mining in the area.

Western Australian firm, De Grey Mining Ltd, has taken over the exploration permit held by Waihi Gold (Newmont Mining) for the exploration of a 6116 ha at Puhipuhi.

In a statement, the company said the area “remains relatively underexplored,” and laid out its intention to undertake a programme of work to orientate initial target drilling, geological mapping and sampling, and re-processing of geophysical data. 

However the Puhipuhi Mining Action Group along with the Nga Puhi hapu, the local Maori tribe with guardianship over the region, have expressed concern over exploration and mining activity.

The group said that mining activity would have an “adverse effect on our livelihoods, and on the health of our people.”

The group argue mining activity in the region would have both environmental and social impacts.

“The region has a network of underground aquifers, streams and rivers leading to major tributaries which lead out to two harbours – the Kaipara in the south, and the Whangaruru in the east – all of which are sources of fish foods used by both Maori and Pakeha (European),” the group said.

“If the mercury-rich rock is disturbed, then it is likely to enter the streams and acquifers which are also used as residential and farming water supplies, as well as being the source waters for the fisheries.”

De Grey will acquire the permit subject to the acceptance of the transfer of ownership by the Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.

A decision is expected in coming weeks.

Image: The Northern Advocate

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