Raglan ward councillor Clint Baddeley has agreed to take to the Waikato Regional Council a 1200-signature petition opposing plans for open-cast mining around Ruapuke by Chinese giant Sinosteel.

The move follows a presentation to Raglan Community Board this week by Phillips Road resident Belinda Goodwin and Raglan’s Lisa Thomson, representing a group of landowners who feared the impact on the local community and environment.

The pair told Tuesday’s monthly community board meeting, at which Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson was also present, that Sinosteel had been prospecting around Ruapuke since 2007 with the compliance of a local farmer.

Exploratory work had been completed and Sinosteel was up to stage two, which involved planning and feasibility work. The third stage was to secure resource consents.

“We local landowners firmly agree this land should be for growing and selling food,” they told the meeting. “This is far more important than what is under the soil.”

Mayor Sanson said he’d been to an Economic Development Ministry briefing recently over various mining initiatives in the Waikato District Council area, but had been told nothing about any open-cast mining around Ruapuke.

He took away with him from the Raglan meeting a map showing where open-cast mining was planned.

Meantime, the community board agreed on Tuesday, at the request of the Spreydon Heathcote Community Board, to seek district council approval to have Raglan declared “fracking-free” because of the threat to its artesian water supplies.

Edith Symes