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Newmont Waihi Gold’s (NWG) application for notified land use consent for its proposed underground project in East Waihi has cleared its first hurdle. Received by Council on Monday 18 June, 2012, the application was accepted for processing on Wednesday 27 June, 2012. It is now available in full on the Hauraki District Council website www.hauraki-dc.govt.nz
“We are satisfied the application contains all the relevant material necessary to accept it for processing,” says Strategic Planning Projects Manager, Mark Buttimore.
NWG is the owner and operator of Waihi’s open pit Martha Mine and two underground mines, Favona (located to the east of Waihi) and Trio (beneath Union Hill).
In August 2011, the company announced its intention to mine an ore body beneath a residential area of Waihi East. The ore body is named ‘Correnso’.
However, the land use consent application seeks permission for underground mining within a defined project area, termed the Golden Link Project Area (GLPA), not just for the Correnso ore body. The Company has applied for a project life of up to 20 years.
“Basically the company is looking for consent to mine Correnso, plus undertake exploratory drilling and drives and to mine any appropriate resource it may find anywhere within the whole of the GLPA,” said Mr Buttimore. The application proposes that any such further mining ( over and above Correnso ) would need to meet the conditions for effects management that would be set as part of this application process (that is the conditions on any consent granted to this application).
During the next stage of the consent processing cycle Council planning consultants and a team of independent technical experts will review the company’s assessment of environmental effects and the supporting technical data it has provided.
“Council has employed independent advisors at the top of their respective fields to ensure the information contained in the application is complete and robust and easily understood by the general public,” said Mr Buttimore.
Based in Australia and all around New Zealand, these experts will help Council run a fine tooth technical comb over everything from ground settlement, to vibration and blasting. The cost of this will be met by the applicant.
Still Mr Buttimore expects the consent will present challenges to people in the GLPA and potentially for those around the outside of the GLPA area.
“It is an unusual application in that the company is seeking to develop a process through the consent that will allow future mining within the GLPA. However the application does include reference to a Property and Community Investment Policy, along with Amenity Effects Payments as mitigation measures for potential effects within the affected area,” he said.
Once council is satisfied the application meets the requirements of the RMA and the District Plan for information all affected parties will be notified and the application will be publically advertised and open for public submissions.