20 Nov 2012

Waihi mine a step closer to 24-hour operation

12:31 pm on 20 November 2012

An open pit gold mine in Waihi is a step closer to starting underground work that would see more blasting and work 24 hours a day.

The Environment Court has ruled that the mine's owner Newmont can build a tunnel in the north wall of the Martha pit, but the application must be approved by Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley.

The Martha pit is in the middle of Waihi.

Green Party MP and spokesperson for terrestrial mining Catherine Delahunty is urging the minister to refuse the application.

She says it will result in more blasting and more disturbances for residents.

"People living close to the Martha mine have already experienced many years of cracking in their houses, loss of property values, health impact from the vibration and blasting.

"They came to court, they told their story and they got nothing."

Ms Delahunty says better restrictions need to be put in to place to protect residents, and not the mining company.

The Environment Court decision acknowledged noise and vibration would be of concern to residents, but says there will be measures in place to counter their impact.

It also says 40 jobs could be created as a result of the project.