The Environmental Defence Society says it’s very surprised that the government is proposing to allow gold and silver mining on Conservation land on Great Barrier Island.
That proposal is very hard indeed to understand,” said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.
“Great Barrier Island is a remote island and the area proposed to be opened to mining is in a very difficult location.
“Access would be a real problem and there will be conflicts with existing walking tracks and viewpoints.
The minerals identified there are gold and silver, not strategic minerals, and it’s hard to imagine any Environment Court allowing such a development.
“One wonders where a processing plant and tailings dam could be located – possibly on flat land near Claris?
“Mining on Great Barrier Island is a prohibited activity under Auckland City Council’s district plan and those rules will carry forward into the new Auckland Council. That means that an applicant is not able to even apply for resource consent.
“The only way through the Resource Management Act process would be if the mining company introduced a private plan change. That would be very hard indeed to justify given the natural, landscape and coastal values of the Island and the challenges of mining in such a difficult location.
“I suspect that Aucklanders will be very upset about this. Great Barrier is the most remote site within the City and is highly valued by island residents and non-residents alike and by Auckland’s thousands of boaties. Already Mayor John Banks and MP Nikki Kaye have come out against it.
“This is the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Opening up the possibility of allowing mining in the park is a pretty poor birthday present.
“The government will hopefully listen to reason during the consultation process and drop this wholly objectionable proposal. Great Barrier Island should remain protected by Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act,” Mr Taylor concluded.