Here’s my draft. If you have any suggestions for improvement that’d be appreciated… If you want to copy paste for your own submission, go for it. Cut off is 26 February
The Nevis Valley is special because it has been mined almost continuously since the 1860’s gold rush. Hence the great variety of tailings/artefacts found within a relatively small area. The Historic values report mentions this on page 12:
“Gold mining continued in the lower and Upper Nevis into the 20th century with later operations
still using the old 19th century sluicing methods such as ground sluicing and hydraulic
elevating. After the Depression, gold mining by particular families continued from the 1930s
until as late as 1991 in some areas, such as at Baileys Hill in the Upper Nevis and by McClean’s
in the Lower Nevis”
But mining in the Nevis Valley didn’t screech to a halt in the early 1990’s. It continued. There are still miners working the Nevis to this day. It is a common mistake to assume that gold mining has ceased – modern methods are vastly different from those used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most leave no visible evidence, and create no pollution. So, it is an understandable oversight that none of the five Values reports make any mention of contemporary gold mining.
In economic downturns such as the recent COVID-19 crisis, gold prices tend to rise, making gold mining viable. This provides a beautiful hedge against unemployment. Small scale mining in the Nevis currently provides valuable seasonal employment for individuals and small businesses. In today’s environment, with indefinite unemployment/underemployment on the horizon for parts of Otago, it is important to keep proven auriferous ground open to ethical mining operators.
Reclassification of the Remarkables Conservation Area would directly affect six active gold permits in the Nevis area. (See Map 1) It would also create an unnecessarily high hurdle for future generations of prospectors.
I submit that this land should retain its status as Stewardship land.
“All stewardship land held by DOC is held because of the conservation values present on the land. It does not have to be reclassified for its conservation values to be managed and protected.” -https://www.doc.govt.nz/about-us/our-role/managing-conservation/stewardship-land/ (retrieved 01 February 2021)