An investigation is under way to establish if the environment has been harmed after a gold mining company was ordered to stop exploratory drilling in Te Puke.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council officers visited the site at No 4 Rd last week where Glass Earth Gold had been drilling in an exploratory operation to establish if future mining was feasible.
They ordered the drilling to stop last Thursday because it was a controlled activity and required regional council resource consent.
Council group manager of water management Eddie Grogan said the company complied and had now applied for a consent, which was a straight-forward process.
Mr Grogan said an investigation would look into whether there has been any adverse effects on the environment.
Glass Earth Gold chief operating officer Simon Henderson said the drilling, which had been stopped, had not required resource consent for decades but some drilling activities now required consent to operate.
The company was addressing the issue and expected to restart drilling in the near future, he said.
The news comes as residents concerned at potential mining at Te Puke rallied together to form a local action group this week.
Green Party MP for mining and environment Catherine Delahunty, and the party's Tauranga candidate, Ian McLean, spoke at a meeting on Monday night attended by about 70 people.
Dr McLean said about 20 people signed a form indicating they wanted to be part of a local action group against potential mining by Glass Earth Gold at the No 4 Rd site.
Dr McLean said there was concern raised around water quality risk.
"This is an area that links with water supply for all of these [surrounding] communities, including Tauranga."
Waitaha iwi's Maru Tapsell attended the meeting and was concerned about possible impact on surrounding wetlands and waterways, particularly those linked with Wairi Stream.
In 2010, the Environment Court ruled Waitaha, Tapuika and Ngati Whakaue iwi as kaitiaki (guardians) of the stream and its life force.
Mr Tapsell said he believed mining would have a negative impact on waterways, particularly those that fed into the new Papamoa East development.
"Waitaha had land taken from them for water sheds and scenic reserves at the turn of the century. Originally that's what those lands were used for... we think it's a good idea."
Mr Tapsell said the risk to the environment was "not worth it".
But Mr Henderson, of Glass Earth Gold, said exploration activities had little or no environmental impact.
"On the wider issue of water runoff, contamination of streams, modern mining activities are accountable as is any major development, subdivision, road or highway modification, highways or major construction, to contain and control any contaminated runoff. This activity is set by procedures and protocols defined by professional standards set by conditions under the RMA [Resource Management Act]."
Mr Henderson said it was possible to contain run-off and minimise any environmental impact of the activities.
"These activities ... are not difficult or inherently risky."