A bitter stand-off between a local community and miners has emerged after a significant seam of gold was found on protected conservation land in New Zealand’s North Island.
Last week New Talisman Gold Mines reported they had found a large vein of gold in the Karangahake Gorge in the North Island; 8,500kg of highest quality gold which put it in the top five percent of deposits worldwide when ranked on grade, according to the company.
The find is believed to be worth tens of millions of New Zealand dollars.
Talisman’s general manager of operations Wayne Chowles said the company planned to begin extracting small amounts of gold early next year, but locals in opposition to the scheme have sprung into action, saying the mining project threatens the “peace and harmony” of their “sacred” mountain and community.
But now the mining company and walkers are forced to share one narrow access road to the mountain.
Ruby Jane Powell is a member of the protest group Protect Karangahake, that has been opposing any mining action in the gorge for a number of years, but have “doubled their efforts” this week to protect the land, sending dozens of protestors to block the access road, or slow down prospecting efforts by sending “very slow walkers” to clog up the road and prevent vehicle access.