Mining expansion disappoints Greens
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 8:29a.m.
The Government's shown its true colours in allowing mining company Oceana Gold to significantly expand its open cast mine on West Coast conservation land, the Green Party says.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) recently approved an application from Oceana Gold to increase the pit size for its open cast Globe Progress Mine in Victoria Conservation Park to 81 hectares, and its waste rock stacks to 109 hectares.
Green Party conservation spokeswoman Eugenie Sage says DOC's own reports say the expansion will destroy an extra 55 hectares of forest habitat in the North Westland Wildlife Corridor and the death or displacement of around 1000 native birds.
The previous Labour government rejected a more modest application by Oceana Gold in 2001, saying expansion would contradict the objectives of the Conservation Act.
Ms Sage says it "defies belief" that the Government no longer regards such an expansion as problematic.
"Our conservation land should exist to protect our unique wildlife and treasured places, not to allow foreign companies to make off with our gold, leaving toxic waste in its place," she said.
Ms Sage accused the Government, Oceana Gold and the West Coast Regional Council of operating by stealth over the expansion, without public input - calling it a backdown on the Government's 2010 promise to publicly notify significant applications to mine conservation land.
"The public should have its say on the decision to destroy dozens of hectares of precious conservation land for more open cast gold mining," she said.
"With its huge waste rock stacks and tailings impoundments, the Globe Progress Mine is a toxic time bomb in the hills behind Reefton. This seismically active area receives heavy rainfall, and a failure of the tailings dam would be catastrophic."
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10/07/2012 8:15:22 p.m.
Geraint Scott wrote:
More overseas interests ripping up the home of our native flora and fauna. Shameful.
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