Exploratory drilling for gold started this week in the Puhipuhi area just off State Highway 1, north of Whangarei.
Australian company Evolution Mining has two exploratory permits to look for gold and silver covering 11,000 hectares.
But nearby residents are dead set against any potential gold rush, with 100 marching in a peaceful protest.
Some locals are dead set against any potential gold rush at Puhipuhi where an Australian company has exploration permits.
Source: ONE News
They say the mercury content in the ground is reason enough not to drill.
“This is a well known very toxic area. In the past down by the marae people have been poisoned,” said one of the protesters.
Evolution Mining are drilling up to 10 boreholes, punching down to a depth of 600 metres but say they’ll plug and grout the holes to protect the water table.
Evolution senior geologist Jackie Hobbins says the risks are low.
“We do understand people would be concerned by mercury, it’s a very toxic metal,” says Ms Hobbins.
“But it’s been there for four million years, it’s not going to be running out of the ground just because we’re drilling solid rock.”
If gold is struck it could be worth more than a billion dollars to the region.
One News 11 June 2016