Green Party members concerned about the impact of mining in the Bay of Plenty township of Te Puke will meet with residents next week to discuss the implications.
The Ministry of Economic Development is currently processing several mining permits for large areas of the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty including Katikati, Oropi and Te Puke.
Green MP Catherine Delahunty will meet with residents at the Papamoa Library on Monday, June 25 to discuss the potential implications of mining, and present green alternatives.
This will be followed by an open discussion facilitated by Tauranga Green Party candidate Ian McLean.
Co-convener of the Tauranga/BOP Green Party branch Ron Lopert says Glass Earth Gold, who currently mine in Thames through a joint venture with Newmont Mining, has lodged an independent application to mine for gold in parts of Te Puke including the Muirs Reef area.
“This meeting is open to anyone interested or concerned about the impact of gold mining on the wider Te Puke community.
“Not just the social but also the environmental and economic impacts of mining the region, says Ron.
“There are wider issues than just employment. Whether the economics are major or minor, negative or neutral, people need to be informed. The meeting will be a forum for people to make an informed decision on the issue.”
“Many local residents are concerned about the impact this will have on the environment, endangered wildlife, possible contamination of city water catchments and other associated risks.”
Newmont are currently drilling in the conservation land behind Whangamata in the habitat of the endangered native Archeys Frog (the rarest in the world).
Glass Earth Gold proposes to mine in the Muirs Reef area just south of Te Puke, which is home to a wide range of wildlife including the endangered native Hochstetter’s frog, kiwi and kokako.
Waihi currently has a toxic dump containing 40million tonnes of waste materials including heavy metals.
There is much debate over whether or not New Zealand can benefit from mining. Foreign owned Newmont pay no royalties on the Martha Mine in Waihi despite extracting an average of around 100,000 ounces of gold and 700,000 ounces of silver annually since 1988.
Mining companies currently pay the Government royalties of about 1 per cent of the value of the mineral mined.
Mining companies enjoy a tax regime described by the NZ Minerals Association as "concessionary".
Mining companies may immediately deduct their exploration, building, mine shaft, plant and machinery, production equipment and storage expenses.
According to the Green Party, mining companies pay the Government nominal fees for prospecting, exploration and mining permits ranging from $3.50 per square kilometre for a prospecting permit and $10 per hectare for a mining permit.
Reports from Australia have shown that mining is not good for employment compared to other industries.
In 2010 the Australian mining industry employed just 1.6 per cent of their workforce. These figures lent weight to a claim by the Australian Treasury that “mining did not save Australia from recession”.
Venue: Tohora room, Papamoa Library (15 Gravatt Road, Papamoa)
Date & Time: 7pm Monday June 25
Guest speaker: Catherine Delahunty Green MP for Environment/ Mining