Arrest at mining protest
Police have arrested one protester and removed eight who were blocking access to a Karangahake gold mine in the Coromandel.
Protest spokesperson Holly Dove said 33 people turned out to block mining access to the New Talisman operated mine site on Crown Hill Rd in the Karangahake Gorge on Thursday morning.
‘‘They have been physically removed from the gate by police but now we are in discussions with the police and we have a large group of people standing outside the gate,’’ protester Holly Dove said. ‘‘We’ll be here as long as it takes, police will be taking away people soon.’’
Miners were unable to access the site by foot or vehicle.
New Talisman is working in the historically mined area, which is now in conservation land, after recently finding substantial gold reserves. It has described the mine as a ‘boutique’ operation but has also said that it could employ up to 100 people.
The Protect Karangahake group is opposed to the mining on conservation land, saying the environmental risks outweigh any economic return for locals and could jeopardise tourism.
‘‘We strongly oppose gold mining in Karangahake,’’ said Dove. ‘‘The conservation land is for people and the public and their culture. There’s a combination of people here to support and eight people have been standing their ground outside the mine site, linking arms and not letting the mining company entering for work today.’’
Dove said five police officers had turned up and were in discussions with protesters. There were two vehicles of mine workers and security.
‘‘It looks like eight of us are going to be arrested as we’re refusing to move.’’
She said the vibe was positive. ‘‘Police have been really negotiable and there’s been a good connection with police and our community.’’
Protesters at the New Talisman operated mine site on Crown Hill Rd in the Karangahake Gorge.