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Protest to end Coromandel gold mining - New Zealand

About 100 protesters marched on Waihi yesterday protesting against gold mining in the Coromandel, according to the Bay of Plenty Times.

The Greens-organised protest saw the crowd with placards march to the offices of Newmont Waihi Gold, where they presented the mining company with a signed declaration opposing the expansion of mining in the region.

Greens MP Catherine Delahunty said the protest was important to prevent further mining.

"The protest was about the fact that we don't want Newmont Gold to do anymore mining in the Coromandel or to expand in Waihi," she said.

Newmont Waihi Gold operates three mines in Waihi - the Martha open pit mine and the Favona and Trio underground mines.

In August 2011, the company announced its intention to expand underground mining operations. Since then the company has been engaged in an extensive community consultation process, external affairs manager Sefton Darby said.

"After hundreds of meetings with residents and dozens of meetings with a huge variety of community groups, we are disappointed that Ms Delahunty and the Green Party are trying to hijack this positive process by bussing in people from outside of Waihi to wave placards."

Ms Delahunty said the protest involved members from a number of communities, including people from Tauranga and various parts of the Coromandel.

Coromandel Watchdog co-ordinator Renee Annan, who spoke at the protest, said: "Exploration is a huge threat and the process, post-exploration, becomes very expensive to get our voices heard, so it is important to stop them now. Waihi residents ... [are] facing further expansion by Newmont, meaning more vibration, noise, dust and loss of property values," she said.

Newmont Waihi Gold had operated in the Coromandel-Hauraki area for more than 25 years. It directly employed 400 people and was responsible for another 300-400 jobs among businesses, Mr Darby said.

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