Conditions too tough: Oceana Gold

Oceana Gold has appealed to the Environment Court claiming some conditions imposed on the resource consents to expand its Macraes Mine are "unnecessary and onerous".

The Otago Regional Council and Waitaki District Council last month granted Oceana Gold a number of consents enabling them to keep mining subject to conditions.

Among them was the requirement to operate, maintain and promote the existing artworks and heritage items as part of an updated Heritage and Art Park Management Plan until at least 2030, in addition to the requirement to establish a $2 million trust, transfer assets to the trust and provide funds to support the wider community.

In its notice of appeal to the environment court, those conditions were described as "unnecessary and onerous".

It acknowledged the requirement to establish a trust and settle upon it $2 million was volunteered by Oceana, but that was in substitution for its obligation under previous consents for the Heritage and Art Park (HAP).

"Requiring the appellant [Oceana Gold] to also operate, maintain and promote a HAP until 2030 is essentially asking the appellant to pay twice," the notice said. Oceana argued that the community sustainability objective of the HAP was being achieved by extending the life of the mine which brought extra benefits to the community.

The $2 million trust and transfer of assets was not aimed at mitigation of the adverse effects of the ongoing mining operation but instead to benefit the community when mining ceased.

So requiring it to maintain and promote the HAP after the mine closed was "unnecessary and excessive".

An Environment Court spokeswoman said if both parties agreed, mediation would be the next step; if they did not, a pre-hearing conference would be held prior to a court date being set.


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