Mining protest in Coromandel
Prospective foreign backers of a Coromandel gold mining operation will be greeted with a strong anti-mining message if they visit the site today.
A banner reading 'No Mining' has been draped over the bridge in the Karangahake Gorge, and about 30 mining protestors say they will visit the Talisman mine near Waihi today to voice their concerns.
Coromandel Watchdog spokesperson Renee Annan said they had heard representatives of the Chinese financiers would be there but if not, the group would "do our own site visit".
The mine was on DOC land.
Annan said the money was meant to be a precursor to full mining, "so our message to the company...is that underground mining in a sensitive biodiversity area is just completely unacceptable".
Dual-listed New Talisman Gold Mines recently announced that it was looking overseas for finance so it could begin exploratory work at the site's old mine.
In December it secured a heads of agreement with a Chinese-backed investor group, St Albans, for nearly $11 million in funding, subject to due diligence.
In return, St Albans would receive 65 per cent of the 32,200 ounces of gold catered for in a pre-feasibility study.
Recently the consortium asked for more time and said its senior executives would visit the mine this week to complete their work and lab tests.
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, who lives in the area, said the debate was not about foreign investment, but about the Government's policies.
"It's quite concerning to see companies coming in, an Australian company who has the permit and a Chinese investor coming in, to open up more mining on the conservation estate."
Although it was not protected under Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act, "one of the reasons it isn't is politically it was impossible to get the line further south".
New Talisman's executive director Matthew Hill said last month that the company was on schedule for the project to start during the second half of the year.