Protect Karangahake members occupied conservation land on the 15th September, closed by DOC at the behest of gold mining company New Talisman Gold Mines last year.
Ten Coromandel locals, including Ex-politician Catherine Delahunty, set-up camp in the middle of the portal pad used by the mining company, risking arrest, to highlight the need to protect conservation land during conservation week.
Karangahake resident Lucy Aitken-Read says the mining company has got to go. “We are here today to make a stand for the conservation estate and to protect our wild and precious places. If that means we are arrested then we hope it raises awareness of this issue, but we know that it’s the mining company which needs to leave, not us.”
New Talisman Gold Mines was granted permission to start mining activities within the Karangahake Mountain and plan to escalate their activities soon. Already they have fenced off and prevented public access to parts of the conservation estate and are altering the roading to enable large trucks to access the mine portal, putting at risk the pedestrian access to popular walking tracks.
“We want the Ministers for Environment and Conservation to honour their pre-election pledges that would see this land protected under schedule 4,” says Lucy.
“We are also appealing to New Zealand First to see the problem we face as our community benefits from the tourism generated by this beautiful place and all those local incomes that will be put at risk by a mining company that will do little for our local economy.”
Protect Karangahake member Holly Dove says “The issue at stake is too important to leave to back-room deals by politicians, this land has been set aside for everyone to enjoy, to protect important species, a place for quiet contemplation and amazing bush walks – stop the gold mining – it has no place here now.”
Although 5 of our members were arrested and the portal site cleared of our occupation camp, they were all released with only a pre-charge warning.