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Compounding the Toxic Legacy of Gold Mining: Another huge hole in the heart of Waihi

Compounding the Toxic Legacy of Gold Mining: Another huge hole in the heart of Waihi

Posted July 17, 2020
Environmental

Media Release: Coromandel Watchdog

Coromandel Watchdog is disappointed to learn that multinational gold miner OceanaGold not only wants to build another toxic dump site in Waihi, they also want to put another huge hole in it.

While Watchdog fully acknowledges the needs of Waihi’s community to access employment, expansion of the existing mine is obviously not the best way. “30 years of mining and Waihi remains one of the poorest towns in the Waikato.” says Watchdog’s spokesperson Augusta Macassey-Pickard.

“Time to change the record I think. Kiwi’s can see that this industry, while it makes shareholders rich, does little for the community they operate in… quite the opposite. The community has to live with dust, noise, vibration and blasting now - this proposal would significantly compound that.

And then the company would leave more toxic waste behind for the community to manage in perpetuity. Not a good deal for Waihi, not a good deal for Aotearoa. So who really wins?”

“This industry is so outdated, it’s a real dinosaur! Hard rock gold mining is simply not necessary in the 21st century. We have been lobbying for a transition away from hard rock mining and into ‘urban mining’ (mining e waste), an industry that is growing rapidly internationally, but that New Zealand has yet to really explore. Urban mining creates jobs and offers significant opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand, without subjecting a community to all the blasting, dust, noise and vibration of having a huge open cast mine in your town centre - or a toxic dam looming over you.”

“Locking ourselves into any deals with multinational companies that will allow them to compromise our environment for their own profit is just not necessary - or smart. We have this perfectly viable alternative - we can have our cake (environment) and eat it (have gold etc) too! It’s even harder to understand how this is a genuine benefit when the costs are so high; environmental degradation, unsustainable employment and a toxic legacy? Not our future!”

The group continues to support those in Waihi that oppose the mine expansion, and to raise awareness of not just the impacts, but the alternatives.