Home' Greymouth Star : March 7th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Friday, March 7, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
332 BC - Death of the Greek philosopher
Aristotle, aged 62. 1926 - e rst successful
trans-Atlantic radio-telephone conversation
takes place, between New York City and
London. 1965 - A march by US civil
rights demonstrators is broken up
in Selma, Alabama by state troopers
and a sheri 's posse.
1966 - New Zealand-born
Australian soprano Dame Joan
Hammond describes the Sydney
Opera House as a "mammoth,
1991 - Forces loyal to Saddam Hussein
reportedly execute as many as 400 people in
southern Iraq following days of rebellion in
Basra and other cities.
1998 - Death in the US of Eleanor I Shuman,
87, one of the last survivors of the Titanic.
1999 - Movie director Stanley Kubrick dies in
Hertfordshire, England, aged 70.
2001 - Ariel Sharon is sworn in as Israel's
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, English artist
(1802-1873); Daniel J Travanti, US actor
(1940-); Michael Eisner, US
executive and former Walt Disney
Co chairman (1942-); Peter Wolf,
US rocker (1946-); Sir Viv Richards,
former West Indian cricket captain
(1952-); Ivan Lendl, Czechoslovak-
born tennis player (1960-); Wanda
Sykes, US actress (1964-); Rachel
Weisz, British actress (1970-).
"If you're not feeling good about you, what
you're wearing outside doesn't mean a thing."
--- Leontyne Price, American opera singer
"If my people, who are called by My name,
will humble themselves and pray and seek My
face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I
hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and
will heal their land." --- (2 Chronicles 7:14).
e tra c
eatre was the venue
last night for a bright musical programme by
the West Coast's well-known Kokatahi Band.
A large crowd including many
picture-goers listened for about an hour to
Prior to the musical programme by the
Kokatahi Band there was a parade of bands,
which included the Greymouth Municipal and
Highland pipe bands, through the business
area of the town from the railway station. e
march attracted a large crowd.
Last night's entertainment was part of the
project to augment the funds of the Kokatahi
Band for a special festival of music to be
staged in Hokitika during the rst weekend in
Eighty-two-year-old former prime minister
Mr Walter Nash, currently Labour Member of
Parliament for Hutt, has overridden objections
by Labour Party o cials here and will spend
tonight at the Greymouth Youth Hostel
Association's new lodge, which he was to
o cially open this afternoon.
Mr Nash himself suggested that he would
like to sleep at the hostel as its rst "o cial
guest" after the opening --- 400 hostellers from
many countries have already used the lodge's
facilities since it was completed some months
ADVERTISEMENT --- Inspector of Coal
Mines, Greymouth. e Mines Department
requires an inspector of coal mines for
Greymouth. Salary up to £1190pa plus £50
house allowance. Applicants must hold rst
class Mine Manager's Certi cate under the
Coal Mines Act 1925 and have experience as
managers of coalmines.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (o ce)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
Sports Editor Tui Bromley
Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
Lucas Iberico Lozada
Tucked between two desert
ridges in southern Peru,
Relave looks like any of the
hundreds of ramshackle
mining towns that blight
the landscape in the world's
sixth-largest gold exporter.
Its name in Spanish means "tailings," a
nod to the heaps of mining waste that the
town, a sprawling collection of wooden
shacks and simple concrete huts, sits
But Relave is also home to Aurelsa,
one of the rst small-scale mines in
the world to produce gold certi ed and
marketed as "ethical" as part of a scheme
aimed at reducing the harmful impact of
illegal mining in mineral-rich developing
"When we arrived we didn't have
anything ... Now we're exporting
internationally," said Juan Coronado, the
chief executive at Aurelsa who came to
Relave in the late 1980s to sift through
what was left of an abandoned gold
mine after leaving his family farm in the
He used to collect the abandoned mine's
tailings, mix them with mercury, and sell
the amalgam to middlemen in a nearby
en he joined forces with a small group
of illegal miners to set up Aurelsa as a
legal company in 2000, paying taxes and
abiding by industry regulations.
It struggled at rst to compete with
illegal operations that had virtually no
overhead but in 2011 it opened talks with
the Alliance for Responsible Mining
(ARM), an advocacy group that seeks
to improve small-scale miners' working
conditions through direct sales to overseas
Aurelsa, with 45 employees, made its
rst direct international sale in June
2013, a 1kg shipment of gold certi ed as
"ethical" by ARM, and it has exported
another 10kg of ethical gold since.
While Aurelsa still sells some gold
to middlemen, it hopes that all of its
production --- currently at 2-3kg per
month --- will soon be marketed and sold
as "ethical gold".
ere are three other mines like Aurelsa
in South America and last year they
exported a combined 360kg of "ethical
gold" to boutique jewellers in the United
States and in Europe.
Miners at Aurelsa work in well-lit
tunnels and take home regular paychecks,
a vast improvement over other mines in
Relave, a town of about 4000 people.
Across from Aurelsa's active mineshaft,
hundreds of illegal miners dig without
protective gear at La Capitana, an
imposing hunk of rock that locals say has
been mined for more than two centuries.
"In any one of those, you'd have to crawl
to get inside, and you wouldn't be able
to see anything," said Daniel Arcos, an
As the price of gold soared to record
highs over the past decade, hundreds
of thousands of poor people from Peru
to Indonesia have scoured rivers and
mountains for the ore at makeshift mines
that operate outside of the law.
Working without environmental and
legal permits, they typically use large
amounts of mercury to separate the
precious metal from rock, often handling
the neurotoxin with their bare hands and
inhaling its fumes when it is burned o .
Miners sell their nuggets to middlemen
and processing plants that re ne the metal
before shipping it abroad to re neries,
where ore collected from all over the
world becomes bullion.
Re neries source most of their gold
from large mining rms that operate
globally, though industry experts say
there is no way to tell for sure where the
ore originally came from by the time the
bullion is sold to dealers and consumers.
e "ethical gold" initiative aims
to change that by selling directly to
wholesale consumers at a 10% premium
in exchange for assurances that they are
rewarding fair labour practices and a
commitment to environmental protection.
"I was so frustrated with the industry
before," said Amanda Li Hope, a
London-based jeweler who was one of
the rst to buy ethical gold. "No bullion
dealer could 100 percent guarantee where
anything was coming from."
Li Hope markets her guilt-free gold
rings, necklaces and earrings on-line, and
has bought about 130g of gold labelled
"fairmined" or "fairtrade" since 2011.
Peru's government estimates that more
than 100,000 illegal miners are now
working in the country of 30 million,
though others say the true number of
wildcatters is closer to 500,000.
High gold prices have especially lured
poor Peruvians to the Amazon, where
more than 50,000ha of rainforest have
been destroyed to make way for makeshift
alluvial mines, according to researchers
at the Carnegie Department of Global
Ecology. e boom has resulted in
more than 3000 tons of mercury leaked
or dumped into the country's rivers,
according to the government.
In one area rife with wildcatting, nearly
80% of the population has dangerous
levels of mercury in their bodies,
researchers from the Carnegie Institution
for Science found.
e goldrush is also tied to a host of
social ills, from prostitution in boomtown
brothels to child labor in the pits.
Peru's gold output was 151 tons last
year but government statistics show that
it exports roughly 20% more than it
produces. Economist Elmer Cuba says
it is a sign that illicit gold --- the kind
often linked to organised crime and
deforestation --- is regularly laundered
into the export market.
While Peru tries to crack down on
illegal mining, advocates of "ethical gold"
say lasting solutions lie not in police
operations but in business savvy and
ARM and another group, Fairtrade
International, put their "fairmined" and
"fairtrade" stamps of approval on gold in
exchange for commitments by the small
mining rms to adhere to environmental,
social and labour standards.
Both use similar compliance guidelines
and perform surprise inspections on
miners whose products they endorse. ey
say they do not trade in gold or take a cut
e initiative builds on similar e orts
to get big mining companies to source
ore under tougher standards, and to
prevent the international trade in "blood
diamonds" from con ict zones.
Rosa Reyes, the mine manager at
Aurelsa, said word is spreading that
formalising a mining operation as
required by law can bring big bene ts.
"Without being organized as a formal
company, there is no legal way to buy
inputs like dynamite and cyanide, there's
no way to get nancing," said Maria Rosa
Reyes. "And without those things you
can't produce" at an export scale.
Aurelsa's rst batch of certi ed gold
sold directly to an overseas buyer went
to Ethical Metalsmiths, a United States
boutique jewellery consortium.
Christina Miller, Ethical Metalsmiths'
executive director, said the transaction
took much longer than she expected
--- a potential obstacle for ethical gold
producers new to exporting --- but that
she is still planning future purchases.
Aurelsa and the other certi ed mines
in South America will probably produce
more than a ton of gold by 2015, said
Kenneth Porter, ARM's business liaison.
at is a drop in the ocean of global
supply, but would represent over $44m
lion in sales at today's prices.
Advocates say that as the supply of
ethical gold increases, more buyers will
learn it exists and ask for it.
Lina Villa-Cordoba, ARM's executive
director, said the next step is get a big
jewellery rm to commit to buying ethical
gold. Ultimately she hopes to reach the
banks and traders that buy gold as a
"We have to nd a way to create
industry-wide demand, to move the
market," Villa-Cordoba said.
A wildcat miner drills stones containing gold materials in an informal tunnel near Relave, a mining village at the province of
Parinacochas in Ayacucho Relave is home to Aurelsa, one of the rst small-scale mines in the world to produce gold certi ed
and marketed as "ethical" as part of a scheme aimed at reducing the harmful impact of illegal mining in mineral-rich developing
As I have extended family in Greymouth
I feel compelled to write in support of
Blaketown School. I must commend the
sta , senior management and board of
trustees for their professionalism in the
face of these bullies who are doing their
utmost to belittle the school.
One must wonder why people who are
publicly denouncing the school would
continue to send their children to the
teacher's class daily. Would it be to
continue this public bullying for their own
Do they not take into consideration the
e ects of this type of bullying on some,
who end up taking their lives? Surely
this continuation of bullying by adults
is sending the wrong message to the
Any sensible person knows that students
are told to 'keep things in the classroom' so
they do not go into the playground talking
in the hearing of younger children.
Wake up and stop taking things out of
Kia kaha, Blaketown School. ere are
many of us who believe in you and support
Sex education class
went too far
In relation to the recent sexual education
class held by Blaketown School and the
subsequent handling of complaints from
parents. I am responding as a parent to the
total inadequate handling of the situation.
proportioning blame on the children
for questions asked in this class. It is
the disproportionate response to these
questions that needs to be dealt with. I feel
the principal has been ine ective and weak
in relation to dealing with sta , backed
by a board that is willing to validate this
ine ective procedural behaviour.
As a parent, I am now having to deal
with a child who has huge misconceptions
about sex and sexuality, She now is under
the impression anal and oral sex is an
expected norm. I understood this class was
to inform and give basic knowledge and
understanding on puberty and elementary
sexuality. What we have received is far
from this expectation.
Unfortunately, we have a problem in
New Zealand with teenagers accessing
pornography via the internet and
assimilating what they see as a sexual
reality. is class has done nothing to
counter these claims. In fact, I feel it has
validated it. I have tried to instil in my
children a strong sense of self-worth and
believe this to be especially important for
young women today.
is class is a step in the wrong direction
and a step backwards for young women.
e school's key principles are 'respect,
responsibility'. I would like to know if
the school is going to take responsibility
for this situation and deal with it in an
e ective manner, or is this to be swept
under the carpet.
As the principal knows, this is not the rst
time complaints have been made regarding
the sex education class. Are we going to
have the same problems in the future?
After presenting my concerns, the
principal looked me In the eye and told
me he totally agreed with our concerns,
and that the class went too far. e
o cial written response was totally
di erent. e school made no attempt
to investigate the complaints from the
many unhappy parents and students, there
primary response was to shut us down.
is duplicitous action I found totally
Blaketown School principal Bevan Clark
did not respond when approached by the
Attitudes to suicide
I have campaigned for more than 30 years
about suicide for I was well aware that the
closure of all 10,000 medium and long-
term mental health beds in New Zealand
would lead to a sustained high rate of
suicide. I have made the point more than
a 1000 times that suicide is the yardstick
of the e ectiveness of the mental health
Suicide runs in families and is related
to brain function and directly to murder
and violence. Many of my generation, the
post-war 'baby boomers', foolishly mouthed
phrases like 'suicide is the ultimate choice',
'suicide is personal choice'. e problem
with that hideous line of thinking is that a
suicidal person may go to a school or place
of large population and kill as many people
as they can before killing themselves. A
suicidal person may drive a vehicle straight
at another person, sometimes killing all
the people in the other vehicle but not
All major religions outlawed suicide and
suicide was once a crime for those very
reasons - an attempt to drive people to seek
treatment. Our views on suicide now are
not 'enlightened' and no suicide prevention
'initiative' implemented since the closure of
all medium and long-term beds from1972-
92 has ever worked.
I am author of three books on the subject
of suicide murder and violence, and remain
research o cer for White Wreath Action
Against Suicide, an Australian group set up
by Fanita Clark, who lost her own 19-year-
old son to suicide. She read my book
Suicide and Mental Health in Australia
and New Zealand, then rang me and asked
if I would help her set up the group. She
could not believe that someone would
describe exactly what would happen if a
person was discharged too rapidly from the
mental health services.
Unlike government policy, White Wreath
is direct and open about suicide, and with
the consent and permission of families of
people who have committed suicide they
publish all the details. We have been invited
to every major review of suicide by the
Australian government since our group was
formed in 1999.
Runanga tra c
On Wednesday, March 5 at
approximately 6.15pm, four teenagers were
lucky to have escaped injury involving a
collision with a motorcyclist on the corner
of Kilgour and Savage streets, in Runanga.
e motorcyclist, as many are want to
do, ignored the stop sign at the railway
crossing while the teenagers were merrily
wandering down the middle of the road.
e saving grace was the relatively slow
speed of the motorcyclist, allowing him to
swerve, not only missing the kids but also
managing to maintain control of his bike.
One day things will not work out in this
Some 75% of vehicles travelling this
route routinely ignore the stop sign, and
while some 90% travel within the speed
limit, there are the other 10% who seem to
have no idea of the damage they can in ict
at the rate of knots travelled along and
around this corner.
Had it been one of those idiots tonight, I
hate to think of the mayhem it would have
caused. If this is not addressed, there will
be bloodshed, just a matter of time.
Bill van Halewyn
In praise of 1080
e Stephen's Island wren was identi ed
for the rst time when a lightkeeper's cat
brought in a dead specimen to its owner
in 1894. Before that, the bird was barely
identi ed, but within a short couple of years
(thanks to this one cat) the species was
e piopio, and the huia, the laughing
owl and the New Zealand quail are all
gone through disease, loss of habitat and
predation. e bush wren, the South
Island kokako - also unable to be saved.
e kakapo and saddleback, the stitchbird
and the yellowhead, the little spotted kiwi
--- all forced to within a hair's breadth of
So what has done this? Was this poison?
How preferable, how handy it would be
if poison was responsible for their near
extermination, because then the solution
to their recovery is ridiculously simple. But
instead, while we literally sleep, the decline
of a remaining few (we are so convinced
will endure) continues. And because
we refuse to place blame on introduced
predators, because we refuse to accept that
these seemingly sinless creatures could
possibly wipe our birds to extinction, it will
is one view I agree as true, the
argument is absolutely 'a worn one'. But
o ering the hope to live long enough to say
'I told you so' is a pretty scant contribution
to a complex problem, in my book. I am
betting the same sentiment was expressed
when the rst mustelid was o oaded from
a ship and released to these shores 140-odd
years ago. We are well over a century too
late for 'I told you so's'."
e poor old lightkeeper's cat copped
the blame for the elimination of an entire
species all by himself. If only there had been
1080 in those very early days, to redirect the
examinations focus, and place uncertainty
over his crime. He would have been an
innocent predator --- they all would.
While most people no longer expect
logic from those running the public health
system, the chairman of the West Coast
DHB, Paul McCormack, will have West
Coasters really scratching their heads at his
pronouncement at the last board meeting
--- "the board had believed it could not
provide safe, routine, normal deliveries in
Buller", but followed this with, "Kawatiri
(Westport maternity facility) still o ered
antenatal, postnatal and emergency birthing
Surely, if there is the ability to provide
emergency birthing services how can it be
that normal deliveries are not possible in
e matter arose when a board member
put a motion calling for planned birthing to
be reinstated at Kawatiri which, remarkably,
was even voted against by one of Buller's
two board members and was defeated 9-2.
e management shambles surrounding
Buller maternity ser vices was highlighted
by a board member's inquiry as to what
the board had done to address safety issues
raised in its 2007 review of maternity
services. Management's response was that
a "progress report" would be provided to
the next DHB meeting. With seven years
to take action it has to be asked why the
present situation has arisen.
Given that management also admitted it
has yet to address many recommendations
in a Coastwide maternity services review
completed nine months ago it is obvious
that either West Coast management is not
up to the task, or there is an underlying
agenda to completely close maternity
services in Buller.
Management's attempts to evade
responsibility for providing this service
are typi ed by DHB programme director
Michael Frampton, who told the board
meeting there had been "slippage" in
addressing review recommendations.
"Slippage" --- for seven years? Evasion,
incompetence and misleading the public
would be a more accurate description .
NZ Democrats for Social Credit
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