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Published: 2010-09-01 00:00:00

The Department of Conservation (DoC) has been granted a range of consents as part of plans to clean up the contaminated Tui Mine site on the slopes of Mt Te Aroha.

The decision was announced after a joint hearing involving Matamata-Piako District Council (MPDC) and Environment Waikato (EW).

DoC had put one consent application before MPDC for permission to do various works inside a conservation zone, while EW had received five consent applications covering a range of proposed works associated with the remediation, which will stabilise the tailings dam at the site and improve water quality in nearby waterways.

The planned work, on land owned by DoC and MPDC, is part of a major Government-funded remediation project.

DoC’s East Coast Bay of Plenty conservator Henry Weston told the hearing the proposed works were necessary to ensure the long-term safety and security of the Tui Mine site and the community downstream of the tailings dam. The expected improvement in water quality resulting from the works would result in a reduced risk to public health and an improved aquatic environment.

EW’s technical services and strategic projects manager Ghassan Basheer told the hearing phase 1 of the work could start in September, while the tendering process for phase 2 could start when funding was confirmed.

The hearing report said: "The proposal will enable people to provide for their social, cultural and economic well being, and health and safety, through the improvement to water quality and improvement to the stability of the tailings dam."

The report said the remediation works were likely to have no more than temporary minor or actual adverse effects on the environment while the works were being carried out.

The hearing commissioner appointed by MPDC was Bill Wasley while EW’s commissioner was Nigel Mark-Brown.