The Puhipuhi Mining Action Group is a grouping of people living in, near, and around the Puhipuhi-Whakapara-Hikurangi districts in the north. We are local residents, farmers, fishers, environmentalists. and we have joined forces with the people of Ngati Hau (a hapu of Ngapuhi) which has the role of kaitiakitanga throughout this rohe.
We have a concern about the possibility of toxic mining of metallic minerals throughout the Puhipuhi plateau. This is one of the places the Government, Northland Regional Council and Far North District Council have highlighted as being good for gold and silver mining.
We do not agree.
This is a serious concern on our part.
The extraordinarily toxic mineral – mercury – is embedded in the soils and rocks throughout Puhipuhi. We have known for a very long time about the mercury. Puhipuhi is the site of an historic mercury mine – now disused and in ruins – which never made a profit, and which caused dreadful illnesses and death in the men who worked the mine. Even today, when the ground is disturbed – the mercury can leak out, and run into drains and nearby vegetated areas – causing plants to wither, and animals and birds to become ill and die.
We do not think Puhipuhi is a suitable place for any mining to be done. It will disturb the mercury which could then enter our waterways, pollute our drinking waters, and damage our farmlands.
There are alternative, more environmentally sustainable, ways in which Puhipuhi, and Northland generally, can become economically viable, and we would rather see Government sources investigating these instead of going after the “boom ‘n’ bust” cycle of mining.
We will be pursuing these alternatives with central and local government. If you would like to help us, please get in touch.