Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Waihi homeowners close to deal over subsidence

Waihi homeowner Roger Wainhouse. Photo / Alan Gibson
Waihi homeowner Roger Wainhouse. Photo / Alan Gibson

Stressed Waihi homeowners are close to signing their houses over to an American mining giant after sudden ground movement which affected their properties.

Newmont Waihi Gold said on Christmas Eve an initial investigation had failed to find the cause of the movement on Gladstone Rd.

The properties are above Newmont's Golden Link Project Area, which includes its proposed Correnso gold mine, a seam running 130m to 450m underground.

For several years, the company has conducted exploratory drilling and last year it sank test bores in the area, which some residents claim have disturbed the land.

Newmont has offered to buy out the five affected homeowners, and the Herald understands some have reached settlements.

The company said the offer to buy was not an admission that it was liable for the ground disturbance.

Resident George Reid, who owns No53, said he noticed a sudden change about six weeks ago.

"The house is just falling down around us. It's just sinking in the ground."

The stress became so great that Mr Reid said he had to leave the house for a time.

"The pressure got too much. It was a good, solid house. But everything is moving, big time."

Niels Jensen, of 47 Gladstone Rd, said he was about to settle with the mining company after his house "dropped".

Terry Podmore, Waihi East Ratepayers Group spokesman, said residents began experiencing problems in late November.

QV shows the properties, numbers 47, 48, 49, 51 and 53, had a combined valuation of $1.1 million.

Sefton Darby, Newmont's external affairs manager, said the properties were part of a housing subdivision built mainly in the late 1980s.

Mr Darby said investigations were being undertaken by Newmont and Tonkin and Taylor for the council.

Roger Wainhouse, who lives at 43 Gladstone Rd, said a drilling rig was working 1m from the boundary of his property, investigating the problems.

"I bought this house 10 years ago and we didn't think for a moment they would do anything like this. There's no way I could sell my house."

- NZ Herald

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