Last Sunday we sent a strong message to Newcrest Mining by returning to the drilling rig, we made it clear we will not tolerate their exploration programme under the shadow of Mt Karangahake. Twenty-five locals gathered early on Sunday morning to walk around the mountain, gaining strength from the mountain and the realisation of how precious this place is. We had a clear goal, to stop the drilling and show those operating the rig that the community objects, that the community wants it to stop, and that the community is strong in its opposition.
Once we had occupied the drilling site and unfurled our banners we waited. We had been told by the Newcrest representative that the police had been called. Most of us left before the police arrived, but the 5 who stayed were issued with trespass notices from the land owner via the police.
On the walk back down the mountain, we discussed how we thought our protest had, or had not succeeded, and where could we improve? Our opposition to the drilling has not wavered. We know that Newcrest will expect us back and will have plans in place. But we are not deterred, if we can act effectively now – it will help in the long run.
We want our next action on the mountain to be BIG, and really inclusive so all those who love the Mt Karangahake and don’t want the mining industry to grow in the area, can come and express their displeasure at Newcrest’s drilling operation. If you want to take part please email us at email@example.com and we’ll let you know dates, times and places.
The walk is about two hours and is through some of Karangahake’s finest forest. The drilling rig itself is just a few hundred metres from the forest but on private land. If you can’t do the walk we welcome you to come in the morning and see us off.
For some of us, opposing mining activities on private land feels uncomfortable, but once the access for exploration has been given by a landowner the contract can last for perpetuity and often includes clauses that give permission for full scale mining. This contract locks even future landowners into allowing mining companies onto their land.