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21/7/2017 — Gold
Sacred nonsense from the anti-miners
By Ross Louthean

The anti-miners and blinkered environmentalists know how to dress up a story for the media.

A group calling itself Protect Karangahake must have been pleased when their last press release hit the market with a report in the United Kingdom daily newspaper The Independent.

This posted a picture of Karangahake being a “sacred” mountain to “an indigenous people of New Zealand” when in fact plans for redeveloping the historic Talisman mine at Karangahake have been ongoing for several decades.

The catalyst for this media release was a claim that New Talisman Gold Mines Ltd (NZX & ASX: NTL) was pushing ahead “after a seam of high-quality gold was discovered last week.”

Talisman was one of the principal mines of the last century that produced some of the best epithermal gold and silver that generated not just prosperity and development on the lower Coromandel Peninsula, but advanced New Zealand in its early European settlement.

The Dubbo zone at within the old Talisman workings was described as a discovery of 8,500 kilograms of gold, when it fact it was an area worked by the old-timers before mining ceased. It was then looked at by a company three decades ago and advanced since by New Talisman and its corporate predecessor Heritage Gold NZ.

The story claimed that conservation would be butchered by miners and that they would destroy a pristine environment. Further towards the town of Waihi, which is providing jobs and prosperity through gold mining, there are tourist walkways and old mine workings restored for safe entry by the Department of Conservation (DOC).

These are tourist haunts, well away from the Talisman that now has closed the ability of cave and curious walkers who in recent years used to enter the workings equipped, at the best, with a torch.

DOC, the local council and other regulators have in recent years heard all the complaints and challenges by anti-miners and have through hearings given access and other approvals to New Talisman to proceed with exploration and mining plans with the stringent regulations that apply to mining today.

About two years ago, parcels of high grade ore from dumps at the mine were treated at the Waihi gold plant, then owned by Newmont Mining Corporation and now by OceanaGold Corporation (TSX & ASX: OGC). This showed the ore was treatable and it also provided cash flow for NTL.

As a writer who has made regular visits to Karangahake over the past four decades, I can say it is magic area where DOC in particular, the communities and mining companies have done a great job on restoration of public areas.

Many of the old equipment and artefacts from the Talisman mine have been moved over to the public areas to assist this.

In the meantime, the region needs jobs, not job destroyers who have set agendas.

The sad issue is that media savvy anti-miners know how to entice the media, some of whom are of their thinking, when the fundamental lore of journalist training is still supposed to be balance in reporting. That means when someone comes up with a claim about a sacred mountain, the journalists role is to find out just how sacred. The answer for an inquisitive journalist would be it’s an old-hat story, a one-sided beat-up.

This writer has met many Maori on the Coromandel, and while they are steeped in tradition and enjoy the local environment, their unanimous wish was for new jobs.

And, there is nothing new about New Talisman finding gold, but if they find more in the Dubbo Zone and elsewhere in the Talisman Deeps then another job and wealth creating mine will be developed.

Contrary to the claims by anti-miners, there will be no environmental devastation at Karangahake, because the mining will be from adits going deep into the mountain, well away from the tourist precinct.

Sources: theindependent.co.uk and nzresources.com data

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A public walkway and bridge at Karangahake, leading to old mine workings.
The main adit at the Talisman mine as it looked four years ago before advanced restoration.