New Waihi underground mine approved

A new underground mine has been approved for Waihi East. 

The decision of the independent commissioners' hearings panel considering Newmont Waihi Gold's application under the Resource Management Act to construct and operate the Correnso underground mine in Waihi East was made public on Tuesday morning.

The panel has granted consent for the proposed Correnso underground mine subject to a range of conditions, but has not granted consent for the wider Golden Link Project Area that was originally sought by Newmont Waihi Gold.

In its decision the commissioners stated:

'We are satisfied that the development of the Correnso Underground Mine will, subject to appropriate conditions, enable people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing. The potential of natural and physical resources to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations will be achieved, while the life-supporting capacity of the local environment will be appropriately safeguarded. The adverse effects of the proposal will be avoided, remedied or mitigated, subject to the imposition of appropriate conditions'.

Newmont Waihi Gold general manager Glen Grindlay says that the company is pleased with the decision to approve Correnso, but that they have not yet had time to read and fully consider the 86-page document.

Grindlay says that the decision by the commissioners must be considered in tandem with Newmont's assessment of the viability of the project given the conditions set.

 'We anticipate that some objectors may wish to appeal the decision or seek alternative conditions through the Environment Court, and it is highly likely that we will also lodge an appeal to address some conditions'.

Grindlay says that Newmont is committed to the process and is 'in this for the long haul', stating that the company has committed several million dollars to the Waihi East Community.

'We have funded the Waihi Community Forum which appointed an Independent Review Panel that has just recommended that the company purchase seven residential properties in the Correnso area at a cost of approximately $2m with the same amount again yet to be spent.

"We have contributed significant funds to the Waihi East community through the 'Top Up' programme for property purchases; the 'Healthy Home's programme will see 270 homes insulated for free; the 'Streets Ahead' programme has committed $400,000 for Waihi East residents to spend on community amenities and we have committed funds to the local primary school and preschool facilities. All of this was committed prior to this announcement and all but the insulation programme will continue if the mine goes ahead."

Grindlay states that the continuation of gold mining will be good for Newmont and good for Waihi.

'We firmly believe that Correnso will provide significant benefits for the town and the people of Waihi'.

The full hearing process can be found on the Hauraki District Council website.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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