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Protest against mining by Aussie company

NZN 11/06/2016

About 100 protesters have turned out to oppose possible gold mining by an Australian company in Northland.

The protest near the Evolution Mining's drill site at Puhipuhi on Saturday "is a message that this community values their waterways and land, and don't want to see them contaminated by the effects of mining", says Green MP Catherine Delahunty.

Evolution acquired the Puhipuhi exploration permit in June 2015.

The company is in the early stages of an exploration program to find out whether there are gold and silver deposits at Puhipuhi that can be mined by underground methods.

"We are committed to engaging with tangata whenua, the community and key stakeholders throughout all stages of the exploration process," the company says on its website.

Ms Delahunty says extracting gold releases mercury and other heavy metals into the environment.

"Tangata whenua and other locals have previously lived through contamination when the area was mined for mercury. The last thing the community need is more toxic mining," she said.

The company says it's uncertain if any deposits exist and establishing a mine at Puhipuhi is years away and may not occur at all.

There are levels of naturally occurring mercury in the Puhipuhi area and legacy issues relating to past mining and quarrying in the region.

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