26 May 2010

Mining industry prepared to accept Govt decision

9:08 pm on 26 May 2010

The mining industry says it will accept the Government's final decision on mining in protected conservation areas.

About 35,000 submissions have been received during public consultation on the Government's plan to remove Schedule Four protection from 7058 hectares of conservation land. Submissions closed on Wednesday.

The proposal targets land in the Coromandel Peninsula in the North Island, the Inangahua sector of the Paparoa National Park in the South Island and on Great Barrier Island, representing about 0.2% of protected land.

A compromise has been proposed by parts of the mining sector to try to address the significant public opposition.

But Minerals Industry Association executive director Doug Gordon says he believes the Government will weigh up all the submissions and make the right decision.

Mr Gordon says if the Government decides the country is not ready to go into highly prospective protected areas, the industry will accept that.

He says it could be argued that over the past 13 years Schedule Four has become a redundant artefact of history.

Gold miner urges Govt to wait

The company which runs the Waihi gold mines is telling the Government to wait for more information before removing Schedule Four protection over conservation land.

In its submission, Newmont Waihi Gold urges the Government not to amend Schedule Four for now, but to do a more detailed study of all protected areas so more specific changes can be proposed.

It says the restrictions stopping vegetation clearance in those areas should be slightly relaxed, so more detailed exploration for minerals can be done on the land.

Other companies, including the State-owned coal miner Solid Energy, are taking a different approach, supporting all of the Government's proposals.

Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government plans to make a decision by the end of June.