Steatite Mining in Cobb Valley

15 Nov 2012

By Jo-Anne Vaughan, Forest & Bird Golden Bay branch

There is a proposal to open-cast mine a highly visible site at the entrance to the Cobb Valley, the gateway to Kahurangi National Park.

The mine would extract steatite for use in the building of fireplaces. Despite having nationally-important plant species, some locally endemic, and nationally-important karst (marble limestone) features, this area does not have Schedule 4 National Park status.

When the boundaries of the national park were drafted, this small area – bounded entirely by the National Park - was excluded because of a small historical quarry onsite. 

Forest & Bird’s Golden Bay branch has been pivotal in leading the defence of this area. People from Golden Bay, and the wider Nelson area, as well as further afield, have been writing to the decision-maker, the Nelson Marlborough Conservator and other influential people. A petition has been circulated at meetings, and we’re now looking to take the petition further into the community.    

Nelson Marlborough Conservator Neil Clifton will make the decision on access (which isn’t publicly notified), although the Crown Minerals Act allows for consultation with iwi and the Conservtion Board.

It is expected the report and draft decision concerning access will be made in the New Year. However, we need to let the Conservation Board know as soon as possible that this proposal should be declined. The website www.savethecobb gives good information and has an online petition. We want to gain as many signatures as possible to present to the Conservation Board.

Please, if you haven’t done so already, go into the website and sign it. Thanks for helping us protect our natural treasures.