Tuesday, May 04, 2010

More spin on Schedule 4

Over on KiwiBlog, DPF produces a list of mining permits granted for schedule 4 land, given in answer to a Parliamentary question by David Garrett:

Mining activity of a modest nature is currently taking place in three areas listed in Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act. The details of the permits are as follows:

Mining Permit 41870: Granted to Peter Fielding on 17 March 2005 to undertake small scale alluvial gold and gemstone mining in the Hart Creek catchment within the Paparoa National Park.Special Purpose

Mining Permit 42024: Granted to the Broken Hills Gold Company Limited on 2 August 2000 to undertake underground mining for gold, silver, quartz and clay by traditional mining methods at Broken Hills within the Coromandel Forest Park.Waiho River Gold Fossicking Area:

Gazetted by the Crown on 19 September 1996, under section 98 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991, to allow for public recreational gold mining (using hand held non motorised equipment) without the need for a permit in the Waiho River within the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Gold fossicking areas are administered by the Department of Conservation.

DPF concludes:
So mining is now okay on Section 4 land, so long as it is small scale?
Well, yes - that's what the law (which National passed) says. Section 61(1A) of the Crown Minerals Act allows mining permits to be granted in Schedule 4 land for limited purposes, including
(d) Gold fossicking carried out in an area designated as a gold fossicking area under section 98 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991

(e) Any activity carried out in accordance with a special purpose mining permit for demonstrating historic mining methods as provided for in the relevant minerals programme required under section 13 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

And this is appropriate. Gold fossicking is a zero-impact activity and does not affect the local environment. Demonstrations of historical mining methods are also highly unlikely to affect the local environment, since they are conducted on a small scale, while enhancing the recreational value of the conservation area. And all three permits are granted under these clauses.

The Minister certainly knows this, so if DPF has reproduced his full answer (which is not on the Parliamentary website yet - interesting that National's web spindoctor gets it before Parliament does), then he is being deliberately disingenuous in an effort to spin his way out of trouble. And so, almost certainly, is DPF. He's read the law. But as usual, he'd rather lie and spin.

Update: And here's what Mining Permit 42024 is used for: tourism