Ngāpuhi: Don’t Come Home to Help the Toxic Mining Industry
Ngāpuhi working in toxic mining operations in Australia are told not to return to Aotearoa to work for companies carrying out mineral exploration that would lead to toxic mining.
Rumours have been circulating around the north for months that Ngāpuhi living and working in Australia’s mining industry are being targeted and encouraged to return to the north by companies wanting them to carry out controversial mineral exploration in Northland later this month.
“We will always welcome our people home”, says Bryce Smith for Te Wakameninga o ngā hapū Ngāpuhi, “But if they return intending to carry out mineral exploration, we say you’re not welcome home to do that. The tangata whenua of Australia have been overridden, divided and conquered in this way by Governments working with mining corporations. We don’t want you to be part of that here.”
“We want Ngāpuhi to pass this message on to their overseas whanau”.
Last week Finance Minister Bill English commented that over recent decades the north had rejected many attempts at regional development from the Government.
“The same is happening again because the Government hasn’t been listening. Across the north we have employment and environment aspirations, and none of them involve removing the resources underground and under the sea for the benefit of toxic mining or oil corporations. We will determine our own future”.
Kaumatua from hapū both around Whangaroa and Ngati Hau at Puhipuhi, north of Whangarei, have been clear that those areas are closed to toxic hard rock mining (1).
Last year’s local body elections saw Wayne Brown dumped from being the Far North Mayor in a move widely recognised for using his role and public money to further his own business interests in mining and other ventures.
Last June, Wayne Brown’s mineral exploration company Tai Tokerau Minerals Ltd were given two mineral exploration permits in the Whangaroa catchment. During his mayoral campaign it was revealed that he had two more secret extensions to these permits pending (2).
“We must look after the environment that sustains us. This is more important than having a mine that rips gold out of the ground for a few years and leaves us with toxic waste. Anyone involved in mineral exploration, from shareholders in exploration companies to people hiring or operating drill rigs are taking the steps towards toxic mining. This is unacceptable to us”, said Mr Smith.
Conservatively, 18 tonnes of toxic waste is produced to make one gold ring. This toxic waste includes mercury, cadmium and arsenic that must be stored out of the food chain forever.