PMAG makes submission to WDC District Plan Change

Media Release – Northern Advocate 3 Oct 2016

Land Disturbance at Puhipuhi Could Release Mercury Poisons

The Puhipuhi Mining Action Group (PMAG) has drawn attention to a strange phenomenon which occurs when land is disturbed in the Puhipuhi district.

In their submission to the Whangarei District Council’s plan review of Minerals, PMAG says the area is known to have the poisonous mineral, mercury, embedded throughout its soil and rocks.

The phenomenon known as acid mine drainage occurs when earth disturbance due to digging, quarrying or other activities, exposes sulphides to both water and air. Together these react to form sulphuric acid which then dissolves other harmful metalloids such as mercury from the surrounding rock. If this acid mine drainage then leaks out into ditches or nearby waterways it can have severe impact on fish, animals and plants.

There have been recorded incidents where this has occurred in the past, in Puhipuhi, says PMAG coordinator Jenny Kirk. In the submission, she refers to Otago University geological research[1] which highlights acid mine drainage in the Puhipuhi area.

“My understanding is that this stuff has a yellowish tinge to it so it can be identified,” she says.
“It is highly dangerous, it is long-lasting, and as far as I know it is not known where it occurs until after the disturbance of the soil has happened.

“For this reason alone, it is imperative that town planners and resource consent hearings commissioners should take extraordinary care when assessing applications for any industrial activity within this region”.

[1] Acid mine drainage http://www.otago.ac.nz/geology/research/environmental-geology/metals-in-the-nz-environment/northland-hg.html

ENDS

contact – Jenny Kirk ph 4337267 email jennykirk273@gmail.com

Click on this link to see PMAG’s submission