It seems that huge commercial interests don’t bat an eyelid at mining 23 MILLION years of preserved history and processing it into poultry and pig feed. I’ve recently shared with you the amazing discovery of ancient moa footprints and NOW, only a short distance away, at Foulden Maar…
Credit: By Kimberley Collins – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78865860
The site, Middlemarch’s Foulden Maar, was formed 23 million years ago when a volcano erupted and formed a deep crater lake. The lake has since filled with the sediment from the microscopic diatomite plant and dried out, leaving behind a “cornucopia” of fossils.
Plaman Resources, which owns the land and mining rights to the maar, plans to dig out all of the the 23-million-year-old fossil-containing diatomite and turn it into food for intensively-farmed pigs, chicken and turkeys around the world.
— the above two paragraphs are from Newsroom’s Dunedin’s ‘Pompeii’ to be mined to make pig food
The article goes on to report information shared by [Associate Professor] Daphne Lee from the University of Otago, and mentions that the oldest galaxias (whitebait) fish in the world was found at the site. “That fish is lying there as it sank to the bottom of the lake. Every little bone is intact.” (NB. if you go to the article, the header photo shows a fossil of the extinct Galaxias effusus)
— facts and quotes I discuss in this section are from Newsroom’s Opposition grows to fossil mining project
Recently a leaked confidential report came to light, written by Goldman Sachs and the following quote appears to show utter contempt for the locals..
“Any appeal to the Environment Court is likely to come from a small number of local residents, who are not well-resourced and will not have comprehensive technical reports to the same extent as Plaman Global would have.”
It’s feared that the company intends to fully mine Foulden Maar as they’ve applied to buy the surrounding farm.
Our former Prime Minister Helen Clark is voicing her concerns in no uncertain terms:
“It just doesn’t stack up. It’s a question of values. Do we value knowledge? Do we value natural heritage? Do we value science and research, or do we just want to a quick dollar from a low value pit? I mean, really, it’s distressing.”
WP BLOG: Paula Peeters – Paperbark Writer
Prof Daphne Lee commissioned Dr Paula Peeters to draw a reconstruction of the Foulden Maar fossil site (I’d seen the finished drawing in an article). I found that Paula has a WP blog and published a whole blog-post about the commission and the steps she took to meet the challenge. It’s a VERY informative and fascinating post! Paula has a PhD in ecology and is also an artist. You can see the full picture at the following link..
I’ve read a lot about this today and it’s been really difficult to select just a few things to share so that I don’t overwhelm you! What I’ll do is leave some links if you’d like to read more…
This recently published Wikipedia article is very informative and has a wealth of references
Quarrying and Mining Magazine article about Plaman Resources plans, published August 13, 2018 and titled Mining Black Pearl
Radio New Zealand published an article early this evening titled Otago community takes on major international mining company and includes more information from Daphne Lee, more quotes from the local community, and also from Helen Clark.
The Otago Daily Times has published a number of informative articles:
May 13, 2019 Clark joins opposition to Middlemarch mine proposal
May 09, 2019 Mine threat to fossil record
April 20, 2019 Leaked report sheds light on mine project
June 02, 2018 Miners, scientists unlikely allies
Posted by Liz; Exploring Colour (2019)