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Warning that Waihi goldmine 'sets dangerous precedent'

Published: 9:44AM Tuesday May 07, 2013 Source: ONE News/ Fairfax

A plan to mine gold and silver beneath homes in Waihi East after it was given the go ahead will "set a dangerous precedent", according to the Green Party.

Mining company Newmont Waihi Gold was yesterday granted consent for the Correnso Underground Mine.

The Correnso project, New Zealand's first mine directly below a residential area, has made many in Waihi unhappy.

Coromandel-based Green MP Catherine Delahunty said those affected by the mine in Waihi would be devastated by the decision, which she had not yet read herself.

''There will be mining under their homes and that's very concerning because they have already lived through effects of Favona,'' she said last night.

''The local people fought very, very hard in court and the commissioners gave them a fair hearing but I think this is the wrong decision.''

''I know that it's heartbreaking for people who were really concerned about their friends and neighbours and their homes.''

Delahunty said New Zealanders should be concerned about the move.
"Although the affected residents had their day in court, it was a David and Goliath situation. The local people couldn't afford expert testimony to dispute the company's experts," said Delahunty.
"Given the depressed housing market in Waihi, affected residents are now at the mercy of Newmont to buy them out, or they must live with the effects of the vibrations and noise.
She said Waihi residents will "pay the price" of the mining in further disruption to their lives.
"When it comes to the expansion of mining in Waihi, foreign corporate interests have won out over the interests of everyday New Zealanders."

Conditions of the approval include restrictions on the magnitude and number of blasts.

Newmont Waihi Gold already operates the Martha, Favona and Trio mining operations in Waihi.

Newmont said "there will be vibrations, but no more than a truck passing, but there will be no noise and there will be no dust".

In convincing the commission that approved it, the company says it went to great lengths to make sure its work is safe.

The company says mining will start 350 metres below the surface. And it says the closest it will come to homes is around a 130 metres.

Newmont says it could see around 375 homes affected by vibrations, but under the consent explosives can only be let off during the day - one of around 77 guidelines the company must follow.

Locals can also apply for pay-outs to help with homes they say they're now struggling to sell.

Resident Rob Mccarthy calls that a bribe.

"People are waiting for that drip of money, they dont want to criticise Newmont."

Both Waihi locals and Newmont say they're now taking the time to review the conditions of the consent document and may appeal.