Coromandel locals rally to protect endangered Archey's frog from gold mining

Coromandel locals have rallied in support of one of their smallest neighbours. 

The community launched a campaign to stop mining on conservation land in the Parakiwai Valley, which is also the habitat of the Archey's frog. 

A protest took place at the valley in Whangamata on Saturday, where the group chanted: "What do we want? No mining! When do we want it? Now!"

There was no sign of the world's most endangered frog - but plenty of placards.

The Archey's frog can only be found in three locations in New Zealand, and the Parakiwai Valley is one of them. Now, mining company OceanaGold has two drill rigs exploring the area.

"We're here because of Archey's frog, but we're here for everybody and the whole country and for all land that needs to be protected from gold mining," former Green MP Catherine Delahuntly told Newshub. 

The thumbnail-sized frogs are already on the brink of extinction.

A protest took place at the valley in Whangamata on Saturday, where the group chanted: "What do we want? No mining! When do we want it? Now!"
A protest took place at the valley in Whangamata on Saturday, where the group chanted: "What do we want? No mining! When do we want it? Now!" Photo credit: Newshub

"It is our responsibility to protect what we've been given. And it's our responsibility to tell Government really clearly, stop mining on conservation land and protect what really matters in this world," Ms Delahuntly added. 

Local ecologists say the species dates back 70 million years, and ecologist Andy Warneford says the frogs need protecting. 

"Things like this are just special. They don't come along every day. I'm seeing the habitat that these little fellas live in completely annihilated," he told Newshub. 

Public consultation regarding mining on conservation land is currently underway. Until a ban is in place, the Department of Conservation assesses applications under existing legislation. 

"It's time for them to finish the job… drive a stake through the heart of the gold mining industry on the Coromandel Peninula. It's quite heartbreaking really," Mr Warneford added. 

OceanaGold says they haven't harmed any frogs.

"If we do find something there and there is no guarantee that we will, the mine would be by underground methods which means that the Archey's frog would be safe," a company representative said. 

Public consultation on conservation land is expected to come to an end in September.

Newshub. 

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