Children and out-of-towners line up to support gold mine

The proposed mine site on the edge of the Clutha River just west of Millers Flat. PHOTO: STEPHEN...
The proposed mine site on the edge of the Clutha River just west of Millers Flat. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
An avalanche of support for a Central Otago gold mine included submissions from children and dozens from people living outside the area.

Hawkeswood Mining Ltd has applied to establish and operate an alluvial gold-mining operation in a rural resource area at 1346–1536 Teviot Rd, Millers Flat, Roxburgh.

The Central Otago District Council has received more than 470 submissions, of which the bulk are in favour, with only three opposed and six neutral.

The submissions come from as far afield as Australia and Auckland, and there were multiple boilerplate submissions from Balclutha, Dunedin and Alexandra.

One submission was left blank except for an asterisk by "I support", and many of the submissions did not have any text apart from contact details of the submitters.

Hawkeswood Mining spokesman Simon Johnstone did not think the level of support was unusual.

"There’s been a fair bit of local community interest. A lot of people are keen to see it go ahead.

"People have been out there seeing what is going on.

"This mine, and this project, has a very long reach in terms of the people it employs and will employ in the future."

He was unaware of any boilerplate submission forms being made available.

When asked about the fact young children had submitted on the proposal, he said he was not surprised.

"Everyone is available to throw their hat into the ring ... It would be indicative of the wider support.

"There would not be a problem if children had submitted against it either.

"Nothing’s a problem — we’re happy to work with anyone over mitigating issues."

There had been extensive community consultation, Mr Johnstone said.

"We’ve had meetings with the local coffee groups and what-have-you, and general face-to-face chats.

"We’ve had a large number of neighbour sign-ups. We’ve spoken to almost everybody in the vicinity."

The next stage would be discussions with the iwi, archaeological experts and the nearby school.

"There’s a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes.

"You’ve got to remember that these projects affect entire districts ... There would be potential suppliers from as far away as Oamaru and Dunedin."

The company also hoped New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson, who is rural communities minister, would soon visit the planned site, he said.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu submitted against the proposal, because of its concerns about the effects it would have on the Clutha River/Mata-au.

"It is a wāhi taoka [treasured resource] for Kāi Tahu whānui."

The Ministry of Education submitted on the proposal, expressing concern about its potential effect on water quality.

The submission asks for Hawkeswood Mining to introduce several measures should the project go ahead, including addressing the potential impact on nearby water bores, monitoring any groundwater changes and engaging with the nearby Millers Flat School.

Hearings for the proposal will be arranged at a later date.

 

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