Protesters disrupt Coromandel mining operation

Protesters at the rig (Lucy Aitken-Reid/Twitter)
Protesters at the rig (Lucy Aitken-Reid/Twitter)

Around 20 residents occupied a drilling rig on the Coromandel Peninsula on Tuesday morning to protest renewed mining efforts in the area.

The Newcrest gold mining operation has been set up on the side of Mt Karangahake, the first rig going up on Saturday.

Protester Lucy Aitken-Reid says the rig, only five minutes' walk from conservation land, will contaminate rivers and put wildlife in peril.

"We're planning on stopping their work absolutely, and we'll do whatever we need to do while they're here on this mountain."

Ms Aitken-Reid says the drilling rig has been set up on private property near conservation land.

The protesters delivered a letter to the company telling they weren't welcome.

"The Karangahake Gorge is a precious area," says Ms Aitken-Reid.

"Over the last few weeks there has been renewed vigour on behalf of a few different mining companies. We're just here to say no, that's not happening. Move on."

Local Sabine Hartmann says they have to protect the mountain and its "diverse ecology".

"Mining activities in this area would have a grave impact on wildlife as it makes up a vital part of an important ecological corridor, connecting the Coromandel and Kaimai ranges." 

Another company, New Talisman, is also looking to mine on the mountain.

"Direct action like this lets companies like Newcrest know that we will not stand them profiteering from this sacred mountain," says Ms Hartmann.