Protest halts Newmont Gold work in NZ

7 July 2013 Protesters have occupied a mining exploration site on conservation land in the Coromandel Peninsula.

The protest, in the Parakiwai Valley near Whangamata, stopped work at the site during the weekend.

Coromandel Watchdog spokeswoman Renee Annan said about 10 protesters asked workers to turn the drilling rig off on Saturday morning and the two groups had remained in a calm stand off since.

Newmont Gold executives flew in by helicopter and told the protesters they were trespassing, Ms Annan told NZ Newswire.

However, there was no sign of police getting involved yet, she said.

The area should have been included in Schedule Four Conservation land when the park was created, she said.

It was home to the critically endangered Archey’s frog species, and other rare species such as Helms butterfly and Coromandel brown kiwi.

Ms Annan said that while the drilling was only exploratory, it should still be banned from conservation land.

The group would give Newmont the information it needed to decide whether or not to mine.

“Any kind of mining is totally inappropriate in this area.”

Newmont could not be contacted for comment.