The Hauraki District Council wants an amendment to the Overeas Investment Amendment Bill so that the region’s key breadwinner OceanaGold Corporation (TSX & ASX: OGC) can continue to buy residential homes in Waihi.
Writing for Fairfax News, reporter Teresa Ramsey said the new Bill takes in restrictions on overseas companies and people purchasing residential and lifestyle land.
This could potentially prevent OceanaGold from purchasing properties and homes in Waihi, where it has accelerated regional exploration since buying the Waihi mining operations from Newmont Mining of the US.
While OceanaGold began its operating life at Macraes on the South Island and was originally listed on both the Australian and NZ bourses, it was now deemed an overseas company because it made the Toronto Stock Exchange its home exchange and last year dropped its NZX listing.
Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga told Fairfax Media that one of the consent conditions for the company's developing Correnso underground project that goes underneath residential homes in Waihi East, was that in certain circumstances properties must be purchased to address the social and economic well-being of home owners.
“In many instances, property purchases have worked well in addressing these issues,” he reportedly said.
Teresa Ramsay reported Tregidga as saying the proposed new Bill would remove council's ability to enforce existing consent conditions relating to land purchase, as well as prevent the establishment of new land purchase conditions on any future mining consents.
“We've made a formal submission asking for the Bill to be amended to ensure mining operators continue to be able to purchase residential properties as part of their mining operations and we continue to be able to consider property purchase conditions if issuing resource consents,” he said.
Tregidga was scheduled to speak at a Select Committee hearing in Auckland today.
Fairfax said that in its submission, the council said mining operations in Waihi were an important component of the Hauraki District's economy. In 2016, mining contributed 26.2% of the district's GDP and provided a significant number of jobs.
OceanaGold took over Waihi operations in 2015 and has operated the Martha open pit mine, currently mothballed due to a wall slip and is advancing the Correnso underground mine. It has stepped up exploration in the Hauraki goldfield with a series of prospects, including the WKP discovery.
Fairfax said mining under current consents was due to finish in the third quarter of 2019.
The council has imposed conditions on resource consents granted for the mines, requiring OceanaGold to purchase residential property that sits above or near underground mines at any point if called upon by the property owner.
Sources: stuff.co.nz and nzresources.com