Following its acquisiton of North Ltd in 2000, Rio Tinto acquired 114 ha of coastal land at Punakaiki on New Zealand's South Island. Westland Ilmenite Ltd (WIL) had carried out pilot-scale mining and processing in the early 1990s but had concluded that mining would not be viable. The site had been in care and maintenance from 1994, and the plant and buildings were still present, but in poor condition. Consultations with community groups, local and regional government as well as the New Zealand Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai (DOC) found strong support for rehabilitating the land as a conservation area. A vision emerged from these consultations to restore the ecological corridor from the mountains to the sea, to provide a scenic gateway just south of the popular Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. This vision led to the creation of Punakaiki Coastal Restoration Project, a partnership between Rio Tinto, DOC and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. The WIL land was gifted to DOC and became the Te Ara Taiko Nature Reserve in 2010, which forms a contiguous conservation area, including Paparoa National Park and two other reserves.
S. H. Rhodes, K. Lorenzon, J. L. Hahner, M. H. Bowie, S. Boyer, N. Dickinson, C. Smith and D. Sharp (2013). Punakaiki coastal restoration project: A partnership for closure and restoration of a mineral sands project site in New Zealand. In A.B. Fourie & M. Tibbett (Eds.), Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on Mine Closure. Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Cornwall (pp. 447-451).