OceanaGold treads carefully during DOC explorations
Conducting exploration activities on DOC land requires a proactive approach to prevent adverse effects on native flora and fauna, says OceanaGold senior community advisor Kit Wilson.
OceanaGold is conducting exploration activities on the Coromandel Peninsula targeting high value deposits capable of being mined by underground methods.
“As with any human activity in the bush, our exploration programmes have the potential to cause adverse effects on native flora and fauna.
“This could include loss of habitat, displacement of fauna, or unintended mortality while clearing vegetation or carrying out exploration activities.
“We make every effort to avoid, minimise, restore or offset any potential effects,” he says. For example at Wharekirauponga before OceanaGold was allowed to carry out exploration in the area it had to obtain approval from DOC.
This permission was granted in the form of Access Arrangement (AA), which sets out the operating requirements including a Kauri Dieback Management Plan and a Wildlife Act Authority. Detail site ecological surveys are used to tailor on-site management in accordance with the AA.
surveys map key flora and fauna species and operational areas must be no larger than 150 square metres. All drilling and other equipment is installed by helicopter to further limit impact.
Kit says the survey process is extremely comprehensive and includes bat surveys using automatic bat detectors and a full ecological survey by independent specialists qualified in herpetology (frogs and lizards), botany (flora) and chiropterology (bats) and approved by the DOC.
OceanaGold staff also take all practical steps to prevent the introduction or spread of Kauri Dieback. Staff disinfect boots and equipment every time they enter or leave bush areas.
Kit says that over the past 18 months a series of ecological surveys has disqualified at least 40 potential sites due to Archeys frog populations.
During the surveys the team also found one paua slug and a few native orchids. The Access Arrangement provides for up to ten sites of which only two are currently being drilled from.
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