Early on Saturday morning, residents and friends of the Coromandel led by the legendary Coromandel Watchdog group took a two hour walk uphill to the Newmont gold drilling rig in the Wharekirauponga area of the Forest Park.
Newmont has been drilling in this area for several years and claims to be pretty excited by the potential for mining in this beautiful and mountainous habitat. They are unconcerned that it is also the habitat of the Archey’s frog, which is one of the world’s most endangered and ancient creatures, and a popular recreational area for our communities.
Last year one of their rigs was closed down for a day but this weekend a group of stalwarts camped in this cramped area, closing down the rig for more than 30 hours.I spent Sunday at the entrance to the forest, welcoming residents who were heading off to support the protest and watching the Newmont security guards watching us.
They very kindly offered to spray our boots to help stop the spread of kauri die back, but unfortunately there is no spray to stop mining incursions in precious habitat.
Although closing down a drilling rig for 30 hours is an isolated action, these actions all send an important message to the mining industry and to the public.
Not everyone can take this kind of action in the forest, but we can all support the vision. We need the forest just as the endangered frogs do, we need to love and protect it from mulinational miners, we can do this and we should.