Consent for new Waihi mine has conditions

By Fritha Tagg

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Hauraki District Council has granted consent for the Correnso Underground Mine - but there are conditions.

The independent commissioners returned their decision late Monday afternoon saying consent is only for the Correnso part of the application, not for the entire Golden Link area (742ha) which Newmont Waihi Gold had applied for.

Newmont Waihi Gold general manager Glen Grindlay said "we are generally happy, but didn't get everything we asked for."

"We went for consent for the whole of Golden Link because we didn't want to keep going back to the community for consent after consent.

Mr Grindlay said he thought the decision to restrict them to Correnso was probably because they would be mining under a residential area for the first time in New Zealand.

The decision document said there will always be uncertainty about the potential effects of blasting activity and the effects of mining activity on surface stability given the variable geological conditions.

They felt with the all-encompassing consent (Golden Link) residents would always be wondering when mining would start and there would be limited opportunity to add additional resource consent conditions particularly concerning social and wellbeing effects.

Newmont was disappointed the commissioners decided to discontinue Waihi Community Forum, and wants the establishment of a Waihi East Property Support Fund to ensure sufficent funds are available so sale prices of properties in area L are not adversly affected by this consent. And for property owners to sell without suffering financial loss.

An independent review panel is to be set up to administer the fund ($16million from Newmont).

The hearing decision has used Newmont's blast/vibration figures to establish tight guidelines for Correnso blast size and numbers to minimise vibration and effects on property values.

Mr Grindlay said this is workable but will need tight monitoring to ensure they do not go beyond the consent restrictions.

He said this consent gives Newmont another seven years of productive mining which should start June 2014.

'We anticipate that some objectors may wish to appeal the decision or seek alternative conditions through the Environment Court, and Newmont is still to decide if it will lodge an appeal to address some conditions," said Mr Grindlay.

The company believes Correnso will provide significant benefits for the town and the people of Waihi.

Newmont Waihi Gold already operates the Martha, Favona and Trio mining operations in Waihi.

There were 500 submissions received, 115 opposing and 364 in support, the remainder neutral.

Parties have 15 working days to lodge any appeals regarding the decision to the Environment Court.

The last day for appeals will be on or about 29 May 2013.

Parties have a 15 working day period from the date of receipt of the decision to lodge any appeals regarding the decision to the Environment Court. This means the last day for appeals will be on or about 29 May 2013.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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