There is no mercury in the rivers and water of Puhipuhi. These are the initial results of an environmental assessment carried out by the Evolution Mining Company in preparation to drill for gold. But despite these results local iwi and anti-mining groups have not changed their positions.
The initial results of its environmental assessment into waterways in Puhipuhi are available on the Evolution Mining website.
Evolution Project Manager Jackie Hobbins, says, “We know that there’s mercury in the rocks. There’s mercury in a lot of the soils in the area but I think it’s important to find out whether it’s getting into the water and into the environment. All indications are that mercury isn't present in water.”
Allegations are rife amongst the community that some of their own are working for the Evolution Mining Company. Their reply is that they are only completing their duties in the traditional stewardship of the resource.
“That is the reason we worked with the company so we also know about our water. Because water has been the most important issue for this community even before the Evolution arrived here. So it’s only right that we are on hand for the duration of the tests and research of our water”, says Te Raa Nehua.
Evolution Mining are awaiting the last surface water analysis that will provide the information to enable them to begin drilling.
Tim from Mine Watch says, “Evolution are doing a PR job on this. The water testing was just testing checking on baseline levels of mercury and other factors in the water there. It's a baseline they will disturb by any further activity whether drilling or mining.”
Hobbins says, “The next step is drilling so we're not just allowed to drill but we're required to drill under the terms of our permit from the government and really at this stage we need to drill to understand whether there’s an economic prospect there or not.”