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Grandmother blocking mine road

On Monday local Karangahake resident Linda Gilmore refused to let New Talisman Gold Mines vehicles access their mine site on Mt Karangahake.

Gilmore, a local business owner, has lived in the area for 35 years and was forced to sell her home in Waihi after conditions became unbearable because of mining operations.

“To hear a mining company is coming here [to Karangahake], all I can think of is the lies we were told, the noise, the blasting, the trucks, the total lack of thought for the intrinsic values of life.”

“I love this mountain and all the beautiful walks around here,” said Gilmore.

“We should not have to share conservation land with a mining operation.”

Gilmore raised her children in the area and her family has spent a lot of time in Karangahake gorge, walking, camping and now cycling.

“They love it here, and so do my grandchildren,” said Gilmore.

“A lot of money has been spent on the cycle trail and other tracks in the Karangahake Gorge to successfully encourage tourism, to start mining here now is ridiculous,” continued Gilmore.

Gilmore had previously written to the Minister of Conservation explaining why mining was inappropriate in Karangahake and asking her to come see for herself. She received a stock standard reply from the Ministry’s secretary stating it would be looked into and may reply if “deemed necessary”.

Last week, a petition asking to extend the ‘Schedule 4’ land classification to protect all conservation land in the Coromandel from mining, was presented to Parliament.

Gilmore says she is happy the group now has the commitment of the Labour and the Green party to extend the Schedule 4 land classification.

“But I think it’s disappointing that Maggie Barry is refusing to consider the idea.”

Gilmore said she now sees the local community is left with no other option than peaceful resistance.

“This is our only choice.”

Karangahake community takes fight for mountain to beehive

Parliament2Our Wellington trip was such a great success! We gathered supporters to Parliament’s grounds to stand with Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki presenting their petition calling for the extension of Schedule 4 to protect Mount Karangahake and ALL the conservation land of the Coromandel-Hauraki region.
The petition was handed to Catherine Delahunty by Cath Wallace, long term Watchdog activist and all round legend, amidst karakia, waiata, and chanting. It was officially presented to Parliament by Catherine the next day. Labour’s environment spokesperson, David Parker, was in attendance and he made it clear to us that a Labour government will implement the extension of Schedule 4 and will ALSO make Schedule 4 itself far more robust, which was great to hear!
The fact that New Talisman have started mining operations on Mount Karangahake, and the sacred maunga is now in danger of becoming a full scale industrial operation once again, is the perfect illustration of why the entire Coromandel-Hauraki region should have been included in Schedule 4 protection from the start – not just land north of the Kopu-Hikuai road. The Watchdog petition will now go through the official channels, and all going well, will go before a Select Committee in the new term of Parliament. And we will be supporting it all the way!
We then went from the steps of Parliament into the public gallery to watch Catherine Delahunty question Maggie Barry about why National are allowing a private mining company to lock off conservation land and prospect for gold in an area deemed a national treasure, and whether Maggie would listen to the petitioners and guarantee that the Coromandel’s precious places would be protected. We were disappointed, but not surprised, to hear Maggie Barry simply answer “No, I will not!”.
Meanwhile, our big Avaaz petition is still gathering momentum, currently at 16,690 signatures and climbing, so we’ve decided to make it HUGE, and use it to maximum advantage AFTER the election. So, keep sharing it and stay tuned for what’s next!

Gold fever doesn’t faze Karangahake community

The Karangahake community has vowed to double the resistance in its bid to stop mining in the Karangahake Gorge, following gold mining company New Talisman’s claim to have have “struck gold” this week.

Karangahake local Susan Durcan says; “No matter how much gold they find it will not change the fact that kiwis are being shut out of conservation land, so that a small few can profit.”

“While New Talisman spouts hype about their gold find, what they don’t realise is that our community, and communities all across New Zealand are driving the movement to restore the mana of their conservation land and our resolve is only growing stronger – that’s what’s important here,” she says.

“While New Talisman have locked the gate to conservation land, and proceeded to hunt for gold, New Zealanders are standing up in ever growing numbers around the country and demanding that their conservation land be protected – the recent derailing of plans for the Ruataniwha dam is just one example”.

Protect Karangahake spokesperson Duncan Shearer says the true value of Mt Karangahake lies in its forest and waterways.

“The Karangahake Gorge is one of the most popular DOC sites in New Zealand – what sort of message does it send to overseas visitors about how much we value our natural resources?”

“It is part of the conservation estate and is an important ecological corridor. We need to protect this land from toxic gold mining industries and shift towards an economy that offers sustainable and environmentally beneficial industries, like tourism,” he says.

Greens MP Catherine Delahunty condemns mining in Karangahake

Greens MP Catherine Delahunty swapped her Beehive-friendly formal shoes for a pair of red-bands when she hiked up Mt Karangahake this afternoon to declare her support for the local community currently opposing mining in the heart conservation land in the Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel Peninsula.

Delahunty said she made the special visit because she wanted locals to know there was strong support behind them, stretching all the way to parliament.

“These people are on the frontline for the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand, right now,” she said.

“I want them to know that we’ve got their backs – mining on conservation land should not be happening anywhere, and this community is standing up for the rest of the country when they say no to the desecration of their mountain.”

Delahunty and locals walked up to the prospecting site where a gate, usually open to the public, had been locked and security put in place after mine prospecting began two weeks ago.

Delahunty said she was upset to see conservation land shut to the public.

“There shouldn’t be gates, barbed wire and security on conservation land, protecting toxic industry.”

“In 2010, 25,000 New Zealanders marched to demand conservation land be protected from mining, the Government is betraying their values in allowing this to happen on DoC land ” Delahunty said.

Click here to see the video

Protest walk to the locked gate

Locals and supporters from across the wider community came together last Sunday in the iconic Karangahake Gorge, Coromandel Peninsula, to protest the locking up of conservation estate and the locking out of the local people while destructive mineral exploration took place. We marched up into the heart of this native forest and gathered outside the locked gate, bearing witness to this scandal. Thank you to those that came at such short notice. We will see you up there again very soon!
We told New Talisman Gold Mines to “unlock the gate”and give conservation land back to the public. Mining has no place on Mt Karangahake.

Locals upset to find mining operations underway in Mt Karangahake

Mining operations began today on Mt Karangahake, despite strong opposition from the Karangahake community.

Locals out bushwalking this afternoon in the Karangahake Gorge, an iconic conservation estate area in the Coromandel Peninsula, were shocked to discover a locked gate blocking the path of their usual walking route, protected by a team of security guards, and told mining operations were underway inside the fenced-off area.

Image2bThe alarm was raised and a group of community members went up to the portal pad, the proposed mining site, where New Talisman contractors were working, to express their concern.

Local opposition group chairperson Duncan Shearer said he felt upset to see mining operations starting up. “As someone who loves the mountain and this area, it is deeply distressing to see the beginnings of an industrial mine being set up.” Shearer, alongside a group of locals, spoke to on-site mine managers this afternoon and proceeded to peacefully protest activities at the site by linking arms and walking slowly in front of work vehicles leaving the area.  “This mountain is important to us and we intend to continue opposing mining in this iconic and precious piece of conservation estate,” he said “This land should be conserved and protected for everyone’s enjoyment, not exploited and mined for the profit of a few.”

Industrial mining, proposed by New Talisman Gold Mines, has been on the cards for Mt Karangahake, an iconic local heritage and conservation area, since the Department of Conservation gave its blessing to “enter and operate” in 2014.

New Talisman Gold’s CEO Matthew Hill said he was delighted to finally begin operations on the mountain. “We hope this will bring this historically productive New Zealand mine once again on the road back to full production. The portal pad, which is a highly modified industrial site that was closed for many years, will be once again be closed.”

k5bIn a statement, Protect Karangahake has said that it does not see any part of DOC land or Karangahake Mountain being a “highly modified industrial site”.

“The Karangahake Gorge is one of the country’s most popular recreation spaces; approximately 100,000 international visitors and locals enjoy the mountain and it’s walkways every year.”

“Even people who are pro-mining can see the inappropriateness of full-scale mining in the Gorge; first and foremost it is conservation land, mining has no place here.”

While this might just be the beginning, locals say they want to warn mining executives that they are in it for the long haul.

How you can help save our Mountain

Last Sunday we met at the portal pad on Mount Karangahake, the place that New Talisman are about to try and fence off so they can begin prospecting for gold. We sang together, got angry together, and began hatching plans together. We are strong and dedicated and we have our own commission – to conserve our precious mountain, to take responsibility where the Department of Conservation has failed to. We couldn’t resist sealing the mouth of the mine with the message from our rangatahi: Tiakina Karangahake! Protect Karangahake!

So what are the new plans that New Talisman have for our Mountain?

New Talisman announced that they will start mining related activities on site immediately. The company says activities will include fencing off the area, installing a generator and a ventilation fan, establishing a security office, sampling and drilling.

Chair of Protect Karangahake, Duncan Shearer, says, “The new plans put forward by New Talisman are an affront to our community and the very point of Conservation land. Locking off the Portal Pad from recreational users in this magnificent natural park will deny locals and tourists a chance to visit this historically vital part of the mountain, which is an increasingly popular picnic spot.”

“This is the start of an invasive industrial operation being slowly put in place by a private gold mining company in a DOC reserve enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people annually,“ continued Shearer.

As there is an imminent possibility of New Talisman starting activity on the Portal Pad, we want to keep a close eye on the Mountain and alert people if something is happening.
We aim to do this in two ways:

  1. With a walking roster, so someone is walking up to the portal pad each day and contacting the top of the phone-tree if they see any sign of activity.
  2. Up-dating and Re-activating the phone-tree.  You can either be at the top of a branch which would mean texting or phoning 4 or 5 others or you could be a member of the branch which means you just receive messages and can choose to take part or not.

If you can help with either or both of these actions please send us a message using our contact form

 

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The Portal Pad Unplugged

New Talisman has announced plans to begin mining activity on the mountain.
Protect Karangahake’s immediate response is to take a moment to focus on how amazing our maunga is and remember the dedication we feel to protect it. We will have our Songs of the Mountain artists there on Sunday for an acoustic concert.
We will walk up that incredible track to the Portal Pad (approx 30 minutes) and celebrate the mountain together. Bring a friend and a picnic! Help us begin this next wave of action and awareness – conservation land is not to be exploited!
Free Admission
When: Sunday 7th May from 1pm to 3pm

How to get there:

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This is our Mountain concert

What an awesome night our This is Our Mountain concert was!! Thank you to the performers, the crew who worked so hard before and after the event, and to the many people who turned up and enjoyed the night :-)The night was used as a fundraiser to help pay the court fines of Protect Karangahake protesters – what a positive, fun and fabulous way to respond to this expense. Thank you again to all those who came 🙂
Tomek Friedrich of Artzentao Photography took these wonderful pictures on the night… enjoy!

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