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OceanaGold should pull out of its exploratory drilling programme on public conservation land, says Forest & Bird.

The company have announced that it has found gold and silver within Coromandel Forest Park. More drilling is planned.

“The Government has already announced that there will be no new mines on public conservation land,” says Dr Rebecca Stirnemann, central North Island manager for Forest & Bird. “Even before the election, this area was subject to a separate promise that it would be added to Schedule 4 and mining would not occur.”

“What’s the point of continuing with drilling when the company won’t be able to mine?”

“Even drilling has an unacceptable environmental impact,” she adds. “I’ve seen large areas in this forest which were cleared for accommodation and drill rigs.”

The area is home Archey’s frog, one of the most critically endangered frogs in the world. “Archey’s frogs don’t leap, hardly ever chirp, and are notoriously hard to spot. Mining contractors could simply walk over them,” Dr Stirnemann says. “The risk from any kind of mining in this area is too great.”

“There is also an unacceptable risk of the company bringing kauri dieback disease into the area, which is currently free of the disease.”

“The mining company should exit this area now, before more damage is done to this forest and the endangered species living there.” 

Photos of the area are available here.

Notes:
1. Schedule 4 is the list of conservation areas within the Crown Minerals Act where mining is currently prohibited.
2. More information is at: https://www.forestandbird.org.nz/resources/gold-prospecting-conservation-land-puts-endangered-frogs-risk

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