Watchdog Calls for Clarity on Mining Concessions
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Posted December 12, 2021
Media Release: Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki
Coromandel Watchdog of Hauraki wants clarity on mining from the review of the legislation governing conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand, as announced by the Minister for Conservation yesterday.
The group, who are currently fighting to stop multinational miner Oceana Gold from undermining nationally significant forest for gold, has been calling on the government to honour the promise they made to ban new mines on conservation land since it announced the policy in 2017.
“We agree with the Minister that a number of aspects of conservation law, especially to strengthen tangata whenua Te Tiriti rights, needs attention. However, what is the goal of other aspects of the reform, such as streamlining concessions management? Is the Minister trying to assist more commercial use of the conservation lands like toxic mining? “ said Augusta Macassey -Pickard, coordinator of Coromandel Watchdog.
“We have a petition* calling on the Minister to place an immediate moratorium on mining conservation land while the policy is developed and the stewardship review goes on. These processes could take years, and in the meantime as the Minister herself says, we lack the legislation we need to protect many important species. A mining activity moratorium is the only way to ensure we don’t lose our unique flora and fauna” says Macassey-Pickard.
“The concession regime is problematic and unclear - including having no prohibited activities, the mining access agreement process is inaccessible to the public and monitoring requirements are not adequately provided for. If streamlining means clear prohibited activity rules and kicking out dodgy projects early on, then that would be a huge improvement. However if it means speeding up mining company access to gold and coal while the stewardship review drags on, it’s a backward step. “
*Petition supported by Forest and Bird, and Greenpeace Aotearoa