Former Hokitika man Barry Foster has been fined $34,000 in the Christchurch District Court after unlawfully discharging sediment from a gold mining operation at Kawhaka, near Arahura, and breaching a West Coast Regional Council abatement notice.

The prosecution followed the successful conviction last year of goldminer David Marsh, who was fined $28,000.

Foster, who lives in Christchurch, holds the consent.

The charges arose from a visit to the mining site on March 30, 2010, when regional council staff found the miner was unlawfully discharging sediment into Stoney Creek, a subsidiary of Fox Creek.


Consents and compliance officer Colin Dall said the court decision was significant because it held the consent holder liable for the unlawful works because he had a responsibility to ensure that his miner complied with the conditions of the consent.

The sentencing judge ordered that 90 per cent of the fine go to the regional council, and said the hefty sum was in order to deter other miners from failing to adhere to their consent conditions.