Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Greens help Waihi seek reparation for mining

Collette Spalding, spokeswoman for Distressed Residents Action Team, pictured next to the opencast mine near Waihi's mainstreet. Photo / Alan Gibson
Collette Spalding, spokeswoman for Distressed Residents Action Team, pictured next to the opencast mine near Waihi's mainstreet. Photo / Alan Gibson

Waihi residents whose homes are affected by the expansion of goldmining underneath their town may seek compensation from the Earthquake Commission, the Green Party says.

Green Party MP and mining opponent Catherine Delahunty helped organise a meeting of about 80 Waihi residents on Friday night.

The residents believe they will be affected by mining company Newmont's plan for a large new mine, 130m below the eastern part of the town, that would have a direct effect on almost 50 homes.

Ms Delahunty said residents' biggest concerns were the effect of the mine on property values, the inability to guarantee insurance for their properties and effects of vibration from the underground mining.

Those at the meeting, organised by the local Distressed Residents Group, felt they had received "no coherent responses from Newmont about their uncertain future".

She said some at the meeting were interested in whether the Earthquake Commission would cover them for any further subsidence in Waihi.

"The people were not satisfied with previous compensation for the impacts of the mine on residents and want us to organise meetings with a range of consenting authorities as well as Newmont."

Ms Delahunty yesterday told the Herald she would try to arrange for an EQC representative to meet residents soon.

One elderly resident told the Herald there was a "less than friendly" atmosphere at the meeting, which was attended by three Newmont representatives.

"They're telling us lies ... They're going to mine underneath my house and say it won't make any difference, but of course it will."

She said the company had bought properties adjoining hers well before it announced its plans for the new mine.

"They were building up to this all this time and they hadn't told us."

She said she and other residents wanted to sell their homes but couldn't.

"They're stuck, we're all stuck."

Newmont has said the mine would ensure the continued employment of 700 workers and the sustainability of the local economy.

Use of modern mining techniques would mean little environmental effect.

- NZ Herald

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