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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mount Aspiring believed to be under threat from the NZ National Government's mineral stocktake plans...

En route Christchurch to Invercargill - Mount ...Image via Wikipedia
Is the NZ Govt planning to mine Mt Aspiring?

 Claims that another national park could be opened up for mining have put the Nw Zealand Government under more pressure. It has recently been highly criticised for its general support for more mining on conservation estates around the country.

ONE News  obtained documents suggesting Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee is looking at allowing mining in the Mount Aspiring National Park, despite public assurances it remains a "no go" area.

"The government has, for its own reasons, decided that Kahurangi and Mount Aspiring are no-go areas," Brownlee had said back in March.

The recently obtained plans are on a government map that conservationists think show that it is under discussion for mining.

"These maps are drawn to close off permitting for this area because there is a survey being undertaken and therefore it suggests that the government does have an interest in mining these areas," says Quentin Duthie of Forest & Bird Society. Maps obtained suggest strong consideration for the Mount Aspiring National Park area, despite the government's denial. It is obvious that the New Zealand Government is deadly serious about raiding more of the country's highest value conservation lands over time.

The Government revealed a proposal back in March of this year, 2010, to remove 7000 hectares of  land from  Schedule 4 protection, but had said then that Mount Aspiring itself would remain protected. But it had posted a notice on its website that applications for mining large tracts of land - including Mount Aspiring National Park, and parts of other national parks - would be closed for the nextnine months while a mineral stocktake was carried out. This stocktake had now been carried out.

The website indicated the NZ Government's intentions were bigger than the public discussion paper disclosed. The Governmen's intentions were still not clear and above board. Forest & Bird would ask the government for more specific details.

The maps are on the website for the agency helping Brownlee with his minerals stocktake. The minister has declined interview requests today.

In March, Brownlee signed an official notice telling mining companies not to bother applying for permits in areas where his officials are about to spend $4 million assessing if there's enough gold and other minerals there to make it worth discussing mining potential. That notice includes Mount Aspiring.

"There is a chance that there is an innocent explanation. But it does seem that this matches government's earlier intentions to mine in this area so there could well be information that is being kept from the public here," says Duthie.

The minister's spokesman had denied this, saying that simply no-one in government thought it was worth ruling a more complicated line on the maps, and that the park remains off limits for mining.

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At May 9, 2010 at 7:05 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Peter,
It seems government all over the world are quite the same. In my country there are plans to convert protected forest into mining are and or forest.


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