Mine threat to fossil record

A volcanic crater at Foulden Hill near Middlemarch should be turned into a ''geo-park'', not sacrificed to the mining industry, two residents say.

Andrea Bosshard and Shane Loader, who both live in the area, outlined their concerns at yesterday's Dunedin City Council annual plan hearing.

Ms Bosshard, a film-maker, said the council's climate change policy stressed the need to protect the natural environment, but the Foulden Maar volcanic crater's fossil record was under threat from a planned open pit diatomite mine near Middlemarch.

The area offered a 120,000-year record of climate fluctuations, of national and international importance, and was a precious record at a time the planet faced a climate emergency, she said.

Consents would be required from the DCC, Otago Regional Council and Clutha District Council, but Ms Bosshard said the council had no mandate to allow the destruction of the site.

The area should instead become a ''geo-park'', providing an international centre of climate and geological research for the benefit of future generations, she said.

Mr Loader, a film editor, said he was upset to learn recently the DCC had written a letter of support for the project, citing job creation, which he believed fuelled suspicion in some in the community.

''Trust is like oxygen. When it goes missing, suspicion and scepticism fill the vacuum.''

He urged councillors to attend an upcoming community meeting, to be held in Middlemarch this Saturday, to discuss the project.

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