Shock at Karangahake Gorge mining

A decision to allow extensive mining in the Karangahake Gorge amidst allegations of no public consultation is sending shockwaves as far as Tauranga.

The Hauraki District Council issued resource consent for New Talisman Gold Mines to mine behind the iconic Karangahake Rail Trail- between Waihi and Paeroa.

Karangahake Gorge on State Highway 2.

Coupled with an ‘Authority to Enter and Operate’ from the Department of Conservation in August, the company can begin its bulk sampling and trial mining programme; mining about 600 tonnes of ore a month.

The decision has outraged communities and iwi due to a lack of official public consultation before the approval.

Many people believe it should not have been given the go-ahead.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges says the government has ensured the standards and process around approval are more rigorous; meaning any exploration through to mining work has to be done at the highest health and safety standards.

The Tauranga MP says with any energy and resources decision there needs to be a distinct balance between environment and economic benefits.

“There needs to be a balance in conservation values and people enjoyment of recreation area. But also ensuring where appropriate looking at strong economic opportunities that mean high paid jobs for our region.

“The Waihi area through to Karangahake has a very strong and proud history of mining.”

Simon says if it’s simply exploration then it will be “just going up for some rock samples”.

“And more often that doesn’t result in any mining and they do it over a big area. By the time they get around to a mining permit it becomes a much smaller area and so a lot of the concerns become much smaller.”  

Tauranga resident Jo Wills is “aghast” this has happened so quickly in an area she calls an environmental treasure for the region and New Zealand.

“This is a voting issue as far as I am concerned. This is a total slap in the face to Kiwis in the Coromandel, Waikato and Bay of Plenty. 

“The gorge is an absolute treasured environment that we love going to every chance we get to hike and enjoy the diversity of the place, we’ve even seen a native owl there once, which is such a rare sighting.” 

Coromandel Watchdog spokesperson Ruby Powell says the consents should not have been granted for an area that historically has suffered drastic pollution from mining and is now recovering and regenerating.

The Rail Trail is listed as one of the 14 ‘Wonders of New Zealand’ on the 100 per cent Pure New Zealand website.

“Today the area has a sustainable economy developing from people coming to enjoy the natural environment with many DOC walks and the Hauraki Rail Trail winding through the Karangahake Gorge,” says Ruby.

“We have had pledges of support from all over the globe of people wanting to support us, locals and iwi in our bid to save the gorge and we will use all peaceful means available to do so.”

Ngati Tamatera Iwi spokesperson Winn Brownlee says local iwi strongly oppose mining in Karangahake.

“Talisman Gold did come to see me and we objected to the mine, just as our forebears did.

“They shouldn’t be touching anything close to our [river] as there is no guarantee that they’re not going to pollute our waterways.”

A social media and mass emailing campaign is asking candidates standing for the Coromandel Electorate to take a stance on mining in the Karangahake Gorge.

There is a protest planned for Sunday, September 14 at 3pm and public meeting for September 16 at 6pm in the Paeroa War Memorial Hall.

Calls to Hauraki District Council chief executive Langley Cavers and Coromandel MP Scott Simpson are yet to be returned.

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have a read

Posted on 12-09-2014 15:10 | By karlpenlington They are planing to use a existing portal to get underground so none of the land about will be damaged. And it is only exploratory to see if there is any thing there

The noisey wheel gets the grease.

Posted on 12-09-2014 10:15 | By brendan.leanne

More mining in the Waihi, Karangahake Gorge region !!!! YAY !! Continued employment,economic benefits to the surrounding area, hundreds of people staying to work, play and spend in this region. How many of the "against crowd" I wonder have ever seen, been to, or researched a modern mine??? With all the procedures and safty rules there’s very small chances of catastrophic pollution, environmental damage or fauna loss!! It doesn’t surprise me however that alot of peoples opinions are still based on old propaganda from "green" groups with pictures of spills and damage from 100 years ago !!! Move on folks.

for How about this view!

Posted on 12-09-2014 08:15 | By penguin

Such a pity that you cannot notice the subtleties in some of my comments which actually contain some positive elements. Pity, also, that you don’t seem to have an appreciation of the great natural areas which we are so lucky to have in NZ. Maybe you need to ponder your statement "I consider myself open to reasoned debate and welcome thoughtful comments, but blindly pushing anti-government rhetoric is surely not your raison d’être.” Somehow I feel there is a strong contradiction contained therein.

Come on Penguin

Posted on 11-09-2014 21:26 | By How about this view!

Your "How would you feel" comments Suggest a lack of reasoned objection on your part. Blindly following the party line does you no favours at all. I had thought that you were enlightening us with considered words of wisdom. I consider myself open to reasoned debate and welcome thoughtful comments, but blindly pushing anti-government rhetoric is surely not your raison d’être

1 4 GK

Posted on 11-09-2014 16:24 | By 1 4 GK

I can’t believe there’s people out there that genuinely believe Simon Bridges is as calous as they suggest! If he had anything to hide, why would he allow this announcement to be made so close to an election - surely he would have muzzled it in the meantime? Have a look at the announcement for goodness sake. Simon was not directly involved (but was no doubt aware) in this decision process. he’s way better for Tauranga than anyone else on offer that’s for sure.

for Chancer

Posted on 11-09-2014 15:49 | By penguin

I don’t know which planet Bridges lives on. The paper is so naive and simplistic. It suggests that he does not really know what mining is all about. One positive point he made, though, was the reference to the “proud history” of mining in the Karangahake area. True – let it remain as history. And’ Chancer ‘– ponder this; how would you react if Newmont drilled a mine shaft with explosives under your house or had heavy machinery with attendant noise working nearby? I feel the NIMBY cry would ring out loud and clear! People use the rail trail for its peace and quiet and uniqueness. Thousands use it each year. There are some things that have value, even above that of gold. BTW, I am not an old hippy or an ardent greenie! But I do know the proposed mining area.

Don't complain ...

Posted on 11-09-2014 13:17 | By chancer

... when the resources provide a much needed boost to local economy. I agree with ’How about this view’ - we have some very shortsighted & one-eyed NIMBY people in this country.


Posted on 11-09-2014 00:35 | By KittyKat

There are regular rock falls and the ground is pretty unstable throughout most of this area especially  during the wet season with road closures - how is this going to help?


Posted on 10-09-2014 21:58 | By penguin ignorant of facts and feelings and runs roughshod over anyone with sensible ideas. This would have to be a travesty of the highest order. Typical of the National government ministers - full of arrogance and rhetoric but little substance. I wonder how he would feel if his nice lawn was dug up and replaced with 10 tonnes of rocks?

Only 23% left??

Posted on 10-09-2014 21:17 | By How about this view!

To be honest I am surprised that it is such a high percentage. Very nearly a quarter of the country is Bush clad. Kind of makes a mockery of the greens statements of how destructive we are in our environment as a nation. Our country survives economically on what we can grow - Fruit, Vegetables, Cereal crops, Livestock, Fish, Aquaculture, Honey etc.etc.etc. all on less than three quarters of the land available. How great are we as farmers? able to support the nation on our farming expertise. Absolutely stunning! Doesn’t make sense to suggest that any political party would be anti environment does it? maybe they are more forward looking than those that would live in mud huts and eat twigs and berries again.

Lazy MP.

Posted on 10-09-2014 18:46 | By dgk

Why didn’t our local MP tell us about this? He works for us. We pay him, and we elect him. Time for him to actually do something in return for his 6-figure taxpayer funded benefit. To allow things like this to be hidden away is gross insubordination.


Posted on 10-09-2014 18:19 | By EyeSplice

I don’t believe our friend Simon knows how to spell big words like ’Conservation’ or ’Environment’ but he does know little ones like ’Money’, ’Greed’ and - did I mention ’Money’? I am of the opinion that National’s so-called "Balance" between Conservation Values and Economic Benefits is permanently weighted towards the monetary rewards that can be made. They have their heads in the sand when it comes to the fact that ’dirty dairying’ is ruining this country, but as long as the money keeps rolling in - they don’t give a damn about the environmental consequences.So why should we be surprised that this little back-room deal was kept quiet? Simon - you’re OUT OF ORDER.

What the

Posted on 10-09-2014 17:59 | By Rik

This is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in a while. We should leave the forested areas alone as we only have 23% remaining and a lot of that is already damaged forest. It is also a busy spot with tourists exploring the gorge. The even say it was one of their favourite short walks in the country.

I'm NOT a fan of mining!

Posted on 10-09-2014 17:48 | By How about this view!

But, I am starting to think that most of the protesting and confusion thrown up, particularly by the Greens, is based on historical practices. The loudest chant is "Clean and green" - Well we are cleaner and greener than most (if not all) other nations, but if you believe the rhetoric being bandied about at present, the country is a basket-case and we need to all be acting like Robin Hood and steal from the rich and hand it over to the "poverty" stricken. At present there is only a limited financial resource available to the Robin Hoods and that is my pocket, your pocket and the pocket of those of us that EARN a crust. Why not dig a modern hole and try to increase the BENEFITS to the nation. I wish we had oil, like the Arab states!

Slow Learners

Posted on 10-09-2014 17:39 | By 3 eyed crow

We’ve had 6 years to observe how the current Govt works. This doesn’t surprise me one bit. My question is whether Simon Bridges actually knows where the Karangahake Gorge is, and does he remember signing it off? Maybe we should tell Simon there is gold under the Rena.

Down with that Clown

Posted on 10-09-2014 16:41 | By Rangi

I bet Simon Bridges was crossing his fingers that this would not be released to media till after the election. The man just can not be trusted! I mean, seriously...he’s a lawyer after all.

Enough is enough!

Posted on 10-09-2014 15:24 | By rogue

"The Tauranga MP says with any energy and resources decision there needs to be a distinct balance between environment and economic benefits." I’m not sure Simon even considers the environment when rolling the decision dice on the environment. Perhaps he might be better suited as a Gambling Minister, as he sure doesn’t like the environment. Now that the rail trail is getting lots of people out exercising lets fill the air & water with unnecessary pollution & destruction of Conservation Land. It’s all about revenue gathering for his boss Key. Guess I won’t be voting for Simon later this month!

Here we go again

Posted on 10-09-2014 15:19 | By rodgero52

What a disgrace, big companys out to line there own pockets and Simon Bridges out to line the pockets of his and nationals rich mates over the rights of all other Kiwi’s.  ELECTION cominig up.

Thames now the Gorge

Posted on 10-09-2014 14:49 | By YOGI BEAR

Like they just don’t learn, they keep on repeating the same mistakes.

Goodness Gracious Me

Posted on 10-09-2014 14:38 | By Merlin

No consultation? More arrogance from the Government.Simon Bridges does not know how to run his portfolio.Lost my vote

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