[Documents menu] Economic and environmental history of New Zealand
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 19:34:19 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Denis Tegg <denitegg@wave.co.nz>
Subject: New Zealand Mining Co Award Laughable

Coeur gold mine Habitat Certificate laughable

From Denis Tegg <denitegg@wave.co.nz>
30 November 1995

New Zealand environmental organisation Coromandel Watchdog says the certification of the mine site of Coeur Gold at Waitekauri, near Waihi, in NZ, by US- based Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is absurd and laughable and should be seen for what it is - a pathetic public relations exercise. The Wildlife Habitat Council includes Coeur itself, and it is understood that Coeur s US Chairman Dennis Wheeler is on the governing body of WHC. The WHC is dominated by multi-national mining and chemical companies, such as Amoco, Amax, Dow, and du Pont. The WHC is nothing more than a green front organisation for these corporations, and its certification of Coeur is an exercise in incestuous self-congratulation, said spokesperson Denis Tegg.

WHC say that the mine site is the habitat of endangered frogs and the kokako. They describe the kokako as a "ground bird" when of course kokako can fly, which shows this certificate has no credibility. In fact Archey's frogs had to be shifted from the mine site. The few kokako which were known to be in the Forest Park at Waitekauri before the mine opened, can no longer be found. The once peaceful and natural upper Waitekauri Valley is now a heavy industrial site. It has rock crushers, cyanide chemical treatment and a toxic waste dump from the mine which produces more hazardous waste than Auckland City - In no way is it a habitat for endangered species. New Zealand conservationists know that in fact the mine has destroyed the habitat of endangered species and that Coeur has plans to extend its devastation into the adjoining Forest Park.

Another justification for the award is that Coeur is alleged to be building a relationship of trust with local conservation groups. In reality Coeur is claiming costs against Coromandel Watchdog of around 20% of $425,000.00 Coeur spent on a water right variation appeal seeking a relaxation in the level of contaminants Coeur is able to discharge into the Waitekauri River - this claim for costs against a voluntary group with meagre resources is regarded as an hostile attack and has outraged environmental groups in New Zealand.

The New Zealand public are not fooled by these spurious awards . By 3 to 1* New Zealanders support a ban on mining on Coromandel conservation land as proposed in Judith Tizard's Coromandel No Mining Bill, presently before NZ's Parliament (and on which submissions have been called and close 13 December 1995).

* UMR Insight Survey June 1995

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