Raglan residents against iron sand mining

Raglan iwi and residents have voted unanimously to oppose a bid to mine iron sand off the west coast of the central North Island.

Whaingaroa Environment Centre secretary Bill McNatty said more than 100 people at an open meeting at Raglan's Town Hall voted last night to oppose an application, now before Crown Minerals, to mine a band of seabed stretching from Taranaki to Kaipara.

Members of Whaingaroa's Tainui hapu called the hui over the application by Black Sands Exploration, a subsidiary of Chinese mining consortium Best Quality Life Group, to the Energy Ministry for an exploration permit on January 17.

"We passed a resolution showing our unqualified opposition to the proposal because of the destructive environmental impact of any such mining," Mr McNatty said.

He said he was disappointed that Energy Ministry officials were not present to explain the proposed mining methods.

"They sent a letter indicating they were worried for the safety of their staff," he said.

Tainui hapu spokeswoman Angeline Greensill said Crown Minerals had invited representatives of coastal iwi to a meeting in Wellington next month.

Mr McNatty said all people with views on the mining proposal should write a submission to Crown Minerals.

Yesterday, in Parliament, Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said a licence to mine iron sands on the coast could spell the death knell of the endangered Maui dolphin.

- NZPA

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