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Protest at Evolution's NZ drill site

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/09/2016

Protesters surrounded an Australian company's gold exploration drilling site in Northland, New Zealand.

About 200 people knocked down the barriers and went onto Evolution Mining's drilling site on the slopes of Puhipuhi mountain north of Whangarei on Sunday.

"Evolution Mining has been telling their Australian investors they have the support of the local hapu and community. But look at this crowd from the whole of the region - it sets that record straight," says MineWatch Northland spokesman Tim Howard.

"Evolution Mining has no social licence to be here. They are not wanted here in any shape or form."

Marchers raised the Ngati Hau, United Tribes and Maori flags on drilling equipment, along with banners and placards.

Environmental campaigner Hori Chapman said mining was the opposite of what was needed for a prosperity in the region.

"Our focus is on healing the land, not poisoning it and our waterways with toxic mining waste. Heal the land and we'll heal the people."

There was also a protest at the drilling site in June.

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.

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.

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