Thousands of West Coasters turned out for a massive protest today against what they say is the Government's anti-mining stance.
The march coincided with the opening of a new $25 million Taramakau Bridge south of Greymouth.
But most who turned up were voicing anger over the Government's reluctance to allow new mining on conservation land.
Protesters were the first to set foot on the new bridge, many critical of the Conservation minister, and the West Coast MP Damien O'Connor not escaping the attacks.
But he says it's premature to panic following the Government announcement that it won't issue new mining permits on Department of Conservation land.
"It will always be part of our West Coast economy. Clearly the announcement in relation to conservation land is of concern to people. That's why we've got to go through a very thorough process [about] what is a no-go area and what can be utilised," Mr O'Connor said.
One-thousand trucks, representing hundreds of West Coast businesses, also protested.
"We're not angry people, but they are concerned and they won't lay down for this. As you can see today, people are standing up for their rights," said Peter Haddock, rally organiser.