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Exploration Licence Application Thames Foreshore

Plans to excavate gold from the foreshore near Thames (NZ Herald 8 February – ) are “harebrained and dangerous” says Denis Tegg, spokesperson for environmental group Coromandel Watchdog.

“The Thames foreshore is the very last place you would want to mine gold.
The area is renowned as a flounder fishery and fish spawning ground, and multi-million dollar marine farms are just a few kilometers away in the Firth of Thames.” Recreational fishers, boaties and tourism operators will be up in arms.”

It’s also close to a RAMSAR wetland of international significance and home to dozens of species of migratory birds.”

“The sediment on the foreshore might contain some speckles of gold, but it also contains dangerous heavy metals, and mercury which was used in the gold extraction operations in the early days of mining in the 19th century. If the sediment is disturbed and mercury enters the food chain, the consequences for human health could be very severe, and ruinous for the fishing and marine farming industries.”

The Thames coastal area is also subject to iwi claims to the foreshore and seabed.

“The application demonstrates that the mining threat to the Coromandel Peninsula is not just to it’s forests, mountains and water catchments. The foreshore and coast also are at risk from mining pollution and industrialisation.”

“And this Thames foreshore application shows precisely why the current Government Review of the areas protected from mining on the Coromandel (Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act) should extend to these protected areas, rather than reduce them as Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee wishes to.

8 February 2010

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