Opencast mining in Paparoa not ruled out

Opencast mining in Paparoa National Park cannot be ruled out, a spokesman for Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The Government has identified 3315 hectares in the Inangahua area of the West Coast national park that could be mined.

Press secretary Nick Bryant said yesterday that Brownlee could not guarantee opencast mining would not happen. "It can't be totally ruled out. We are not pre-empting anything. All mining is subject to the Resource Management Act, and that's a pretty high bar," Bryant said.

Ray Moroney, co-owner of Underworld Adventures, which runs caving trips in the Paparoas, said he did not want to see "open slather" mining in the national park. "Any disturbing of the environment is going to have an effect. However, there's a difference between tiptoeing through the tulips and taking your elephant through the cabbage patch," he said.

"As long as the checks and balances are in place outside the political arena, then there shouldn't be much of an issue. That said, I don't want to see open slather.

"I've seen what it's like up on Stockton [opencast coalmine] and even though they say they will put it back to normal, it's never going to be anywhere near the same."

The Press