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Hauraki District Council is gearing up for a large number of inquiries from residents
over Newmont Waihi Gold’s plans to develop the existing Martha Mine and a
proposed underground mine in Waihi East.
These developments are expected to allow Newmont to extract gold and silver
estimated to be worth in excess of $1 billion.
If planning permission is granted, it will extend Newmont’s mining operations in the
4503 population town to 2020 and beyond.
The major project, a proposed underground mine, the Correnso, will follow the
existing Favona and Trio underground mines.
It will be 126 metres or deeper below the surface, and will have a potential life of six
Plans for this mine, and development at Martha, were publicly announced by the
mining company earlier today.
Information brochures have been delivered by Newmont to every home in Waihi,
including around 31 properties directly above and 15 immediately adjacent to the
proposed Correnso mineral resource.
Newmont has advised council it will be submitting an application for a resource
consent in February or March next year.
Hauraki Mayor John Tregidga said today council is expecting widespread interest
from the community.
Mr Tregidga said the mining company was opening an information office in Seddon
Street, next to the Waihi Memorial Hall in Waihi tomorrow (Wednesday, August 24)
until the end of September.
This would enable residents to view the company’s plans and to raise and discuss
issues around the proposal with mine staff.
From early tomorrow morning, he said, council staff will be delivering letters to
properties above or immediately adjacent to the Correnso Mine ore body, inviting
them to make contact with any early concerns. Mr Tregidga said he had delegated deputy mayor Bruce Gordon and Waihi ward committee chair, Sel Baker, to take responsibility for liaising with the community, along with the other four Waihi ward councillors, while he was out of the district for several weeks in September because of a long-standing commitment.
At this stage council has not scheduled any public meetings although it will have a
closed meeting on Thursday night with the 46 property owners identified as being
above or immediately adjacent to Correnso.
Other property owners in the general area will be encouraged to engage with
councillors on an individual basis over coming weeks.
The mining company may organise its own meetings in addition to making
information available at its new office in Seddon Street.
Mr Tregidga said at this stage council has received the same information made
available by Newmont to the community.
“It is probably premature for major discussions around the proposed development
until more is known and the consent application lodged,” he said.
“Council’s expectation is that Newmont will continue to engage and listen to those
property owners affected.
“Council is bound by the processes around resource consent applications, and we see
our initial role as being a listening post for the community.
“We will take any community concerns to the company so it can address those issues
before its consent application is completed.”
Mayor Tregidga has assured the community that as soon as the application is lodged
with council early next year, the community will have an opportunity to understand
the full implications and to make submissions.
Council is likely to appoint independent commissioners, and possibly a councillor, to
hear submissions as it has done with previous mining applications.
But that is a decision to be taken once the application for consent is lodged.