A Chinese-backed Australian mining company has revealed plans to explore for oil in the seabed off the Abel Tasman National Park coastline, across much of Golden Bay and the northwest corner of the South Island.
Speaking from Sydney, Greywolf chief executive Edward Lancaster said the company hoped to start explorations and eventual mining operations once approval was granted from Crown Minerals – and if its Chinese partners considered it worthwhile.
Mr Lancaster plans to visit the region within the next month to assess the potential for developing the area. Golden Bay was potentially a mineral-rich area and if coal and oil were found, Port Tarakohe could be developed to service those industries, he said.
Company representatives have already spoken to Tasman District Council chief executive officer Paul Wylie about their plans, including the possible development of Port Tarakohe.
"The job prospects for the region would be very good and I know he [Mr Wylie] is anxious to develop the area," he said.Local tangata whenua are incensed
Golden Bay iwi are alarmed at the plans by Sydney-based Greywolf Goldmining NL. It is proposing drilling the seabed for oil and gas, as well as prospecting for coal in Golden Bay and developing Port Tarakohe.
Manawhenua Ki Mohua, comprising three Golden Bay iwi (Ngati Tama, Te Ati Awa and Ngati Rarua), received the company's petroleum application from the Crown Minerals department last week.
Their representative, John Ward-Holmes, said iwi were "totally opposed to any exploration or drilling of the seabed for oil on cultural and environmental grounds".
"Everyone is alarmed about it. We don't want this and we want to let people know what's in the pipeline."
He said iwi had not been informed about the company's applications to prospect for coal.We must support Manawhenua Ki Mohua and oppose these exploiters. People power can and will stop them - we will stop them.