Opponent sells land to mining company

Record high gold prices have prompted hobby prospectors to dust off spades and pans and head to...
Photo: ODT files
One of the biggest opponents to a controversial mine in Central Otago has pulled their submission after selling their land to the mining company.

Hawkeswood Mining Ltd has applied to the Otago Regional Council (ORC) and the Central Otago District Council (CODC) for consent to establish and operate an alluvial gold-mine in a rural resource area at Millers Flat, near Roxburgh.

During the first day of the hearing in Millers Flat yesterday, it was revealed previously staunch opponents of the proposed mining activity had withdrawn their submission following the sale of their property.

The submitters, referred to as ‘JP Clarke, KL Franklin and FG Works Ltd’, submitted a 16-page document in opposition to the granting of the consent, compiled by Christchurch commercial law firm Simpson Grierson.

While the submitters were due to speak at the hearing, their document and accompanying evidence was withdrawn last Friday, though it was still visible on the CODC website last night.

Hawkeswood counsel Jeremy Brabant told commissioners the property was now owned by Hawkeswood Mining.

"That land is now owned by the applicant, and obviously, as a result, the effective position is one now of written approval because that’s implicate in the fact the applicant now owns that land," Mr Brabant said.

"That is a negotiation process that’s occurred to the side and has resolved itself fairly recently."

The property, next to the proposed mining area, had a rateable value of $1,250,000, as of October 2022.

Mr Brabant said Hawkeswood Mining had agreed the previous owners could remain on the property for "a period of time".

When contacted by the Otago Daily Times last night, JP Clarke, KL Franklin and FG Works Ltd declined to comment.

The hearing continues.