Friday, 7 June 2013
Straterra has welcomed the results of a new opinion poll on extracting minerals in the Taranaki as a triumph for common sense Kiwis who understand the benefits that the minerals industry offers communities, regions and national New Zealand.
Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd (TTR) commissioned the survey to ascertain the interest in and support for its plans to harvest iron ore from the seabed off the South Taranaki coast inshore from the Kupe gas field production platform that lies about 30km off Manaia.
“Despite anti-mining rhetoric, most Kiwis agree that New Zealand can and should use its natural resources to improve our economic prosperity and standard of living,” Straterra Chief Executive Officer, Chris Baker says.
“While 69% agreed with the need to develop our natural resources, 87% of people polled said - as long as the environment is protected and local people are employed – they supported the development of all New Zealand’s natural resources (iron ore, gold and coal),” he said.
Mr Baker said he was not surprised at the survey outcome because it was consistent with earlier findings in the 2012 opinion poll delivered by the same provider, Pauline Colmar and covered in Straterra’s press release of 11 October 2012. The TTR survey was smaller – focussing on Taranaki – but it included some questions asked in the earlier 2012 survey for comparisons.
“The facts are that environmental effects of exploration and mining are already being managed, New Zealanders are being employed, the economy grows and most money stays in New Zealand through salaries, taxes, royalties, rates, fees, community contributions, and payments to suppliers.
“As is the case with the New Zealand wine industry, and many other industries, there is a high level of foreign investment in the minerals sector because risk capital has to come from somewhere. Most New Zealanders want to see New Zealand’s standard of living improved, and the minerals sector can play a valuable role in achieving this goal,” Mr Baker says.
 A nationwide survey of 1000 New Zealanders conducted by Pauline Colmar in February and March 2012 was released at a meeting of the Board of Straterra, New Zealand’s representative body for the minerals industry, on 11 October 2012. Of this nationally-representative group, 77 percent were very concerned or quite concerned about New Zealand’s standard of living, and 81 percent believed it is very important or quite important to develop New Zealand’s natural resources for prosperity.
5 July 2012
New Zealanders’ strong show of support for minerals exploration sends a much-needed, positive signal to investors in resources, Straterra says.
Straterra CEO, Chris Baker, said today that a New Zealand Herald poll released today, reporting that 67 per cent of New Zealanders support minerals exploration, shows most Kiwis believe exploration and mining can make an important economic contribution to our country and is environmentally and socially responsible.
“Many respondents indicated cautious support, which is appropriate as we always advocate a case by case approach. However, the survey shows that misinformation on minerals and mining promulgated by a vocal and persistent minority is rejected by most New Zealanders, who have confidence in our regulations and who see every reason for mineral exploration.
“This is a positive sign for investors in resources as it indicates widespread public support for exploration and mining. It also shows the public are willing to take a rational and considered approach toward mining proposals.
“The benefits in gaining more knowledge of New Zealand’s mineral resource potential are obvious – it’s about exploring the possibility of new economic opportunities for New Zealand, at a time of need.
“If say, a new gold mine were found, consented and developed, it would create hundreds of new jobs, new spending of more than $100 million a year once the operation was established on top of the $100s of millions spent on exploration, feasibility studies, consenting and capital. A reasonable estimate is that greater than 80 per cent of the annual expenditure would stay in New Zealand as salaries, taxes, rates, levies, royalties, payments to suppliers, contractors, and regulatory costs.
“Mining can make a significantly greater contribution to our economy. The industry, and the public, wants responsible development, they want to be confident our management of environmental impact is to a high standard. This survey reflects and confirms that confidence."
26 June 2012
Media coverage of the Government’s plans to survey mineral potential on the West Coast highlights the need for well-informed, rational public debate on mining in New Zealand, Straterra says.
The Ministry of Economic Development is undertaking an aeromagnetic survey to better understand the geology of the West Coast region. This approach is, and has been, taken in many other jurisdictions because the results of the survey are likely to attract investment in prospecting.
Straterra CEO, Chris Baker, said today the survey (which will cross parts of a World Heritage site) is a valuable and obvious opportunity to learn more about New Zealand’s mineral prospects.
“It is unproductive to frame mining as a polarised debate with comments from those who oppose mining and those who support it. New Zealanders deserve better.”
“At issue are the pros and cons of mining proposals at specific sites. What are the benefits for the community and for New Zealand, what are the effects on the environment and conservation, and how can they be managed acceptably.”
“The fact is that mining can be, and is done today in an environmentally, socially responsible and safe manner in New Zealand. There are plenty of examples on which to draw. At a national and local scale, the footprint of mining is very small.”
“The early-stage surveys in Northland and the West Coast are an important input for companies looking for prospecting opportunities; it is not about making decisions. An aeromagnetic survey tells you something about the presence of minerals below ground – that something might, if we are lucky, and with a lot more investment, lead to the discovery of an economic ore deposit.”
“This is a positive and appropriate investment by the Government. We will benefit from better knowledge of our potential resources, where they might be, what value they might have, what needs to be done to deal effectively with the impacts that come from mining, and above all the advantages that come from responsible mining."
13 June 2012
Straterra welcomed today the announcement today made by New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals inviting tenders for metallic mineral exploration permits in Northland.
Straterra CEO, Chris Baker, said today: “It will be interesting to see who puts in a bid, and what their intentions for the area are.”
Information about permits awarded is to be made public in April 2013, with individual permit areas to be limited to 7500 ha. The tender process follows a recent aeromagnetic survey commissioned by the Government of the region’s metallic minerals prospectivity.
“We can’t say for sure that a new gold mine in Northland will happen, however, we do know that existing gold mines in New Zealand can add hundreds of direct jobs to the local economy, and hundreds more indirect jobs.”
“Of course, any prospecting, exploration, and mining development would be done in an environmentally and socially-responsible, and safe manner,” Mr Baker said. “New Zealand gold mining companies have an exemplary track record in this area.”
17 January 2012
The oil and gas sector’s strengthened representation will help promote the resource sector’s potential contribution to New Zealand, Straterra says.
Straterra CEO, Chris Baker, welcomed today the announcement made yesterday by the Petroleum Exploration & Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ) of its new board, chaired by Chris Bush, Origin Energy NZ, and of its new chief executive, David Robinson.
“New Zealand could see a step change in the economy from the responsible development of energy and mineral resources, and it is good to see PEPANZ making a compelling case for that,” Mr Baker said.
“The timing is very good for a strengthened PEPANZ and Straterra to work together in improving New Zealand’s attractiveness for investment in the resource sector.”
“The review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 and minerals programmes, the debate on hydraulic fracturing or fracking technology, and proposed legislation and regulations for the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf, are among key areas where our respective organisations have common interests.”
Mr Baker said that the resource sector in New Zealand has good potential in the traditional areas of oil, gas, coal, lignite, gold and other metals and industrial minerals, as well as in the emerging frontiers of offshore ironsands, rock phosphate on the Chatham Rise, and seabed base and precious metals in the Kermadecs.
“Demand worldwide for resources continues to increase, driven by the developing economies and resources are becoming increasingly expensive to find and develop. We in New Zealand are well placed to play a role in this, providing we can attract the capital required.”
“New Zealand needs a Crown minerals regime that enables the market in raising investment capital, enables the industry to make a fair return on a high-risk business, while providing for the Crown to receive a fair financial return on the property of all New Zealanders.”
“In a challenging global and domestic economic environment, the resource sector provides opportunities that must be encouraged, in an environmentally responsible way. New Zealand needs additional economic activity and we look forward to working with PEPANZ to ensure we achieve positive outcomes for New Zealand from the resource sector.”
12 December 2011
The Institute of Professional Engineers has produced a report that promotes mature and well-informed debate on minerals and energy in New Zealand, Straterra says.
The IPENZ report, “Realising our hidden treasure: responsible mineral and petroleum extraction”, released today, concludes that with improved and streamlined regulation, the contribution of the sector to New Zealand’s GDP could increase from 1.1 percent to triple that figure over the next 10 years.
Chris Baker, CEO, Straterra said today the report highlights the economic potential of the resource sector, the very high standard of environmental regulation in New Zealand, noting room for improvement on that, and in the regulatory environment generally. It also draws attention to a skills shortage in New Zealand in the sector.
“The report says what we have known all along, which is that New Zealand has significant resource potential, but that more effort is needed by our country to attract the investment to explore and develop that potential.”
“The Government is doing a lot of work across the spectrum of issues including environment, economic return to New Zealand, and health and safety. In this, Straterra is engaging actively with government.”
“Properly managed and encouraged, the resource sector can contribute to the economy in a socially and environmentally responsible way. I commend this report to anyone with a serious interest in New Zealand’s economic and social future.”
24 November 2011
Taranaki Regional Council’s report on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) provides a sensible approach to regulating this technology for increasing gas production, Straterra says.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker was commenting today on “Hydrogeologic Risk Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing for Gas Recovery in the Taranaki Region (2011)”, a report released today by Taranaki Regional Council. http://www.trc.govt.nz/Fresh-water-2/
The report was peer-reviewed by the Crown research institute, GNS Science.
“The TRC report puts to rest the debate on fracking, Mr Baker said. “It concludes fracking can be done with little risk using good well design and proper disposal of used water, in the right geological conditions.”
“Unlike the naysayers on fracking, TRC did their homework, and got their report independently peer reviewed by a reputable scientific research institution. We are gratified that the report finds - as we have said all along - that properly regulated and monitored, and using the proper technology and methods, fracking poses little risk to the environment,” Mr Baker said.
The report found that 43 fracking operations between 2000 and mid-2011 in Taranaki led to no adverse environmental effects, that fracking poses little risk to the environment if properly done, and that resource consenting for fracking under the Resource Management Act 1991 is the appropriate level of regulation.
04 November 2011
New Zealanders concerned about hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in oil and gas development are urged to consider the issues carefully before leaping to conclusions, Straterra says.
Yesterday TV3 covered a report produced in the UK on ground vibrations of 1.4 and 2.3 magnitude on the Richter Scale, linking these events to fracking near Blackpool. The report and associated news coverage have raised further concerns over fracking.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today there are legitimate concerns about fracking, but it is important to have good information on the issues, and to interpret this information sensibly.
“Let us consider the earthquake findings. Ground vibrations of 2.3 are comparable to that produced by a bus driving past. These events have nothing to do with the gigantic forces of nature normally associated with earthquakes.”
“This is not just my opinion. GNS Science has done the research, and our view is based on their science – and, indeed, on common sense.” (An opinion by Dr Rosemary Quinn is appended to this media release.)
“The resource sector is dismayed at the constant outpouring of ill-informed and misleading comment on fracking. This is a proven engineering technology that can deliver significant economic benefits in ways that are environmentally responsible,” Mr Baker said.
“We have the legislation to manage the risks to do with fracking, as is the case with any consented engineering activity in New Zealand. Certainly, we should ensure the appropriate monitoring is in place, and we would do that anyway as part of working with the local council under our consents.”
Opinion by Dr Rosemary Quinn, Head of Petroleum Geosciences, GNS Science
There are many examples of activities that cause human-induced seismicity, of which hydraulic fracturing (or ‘fracking’) is just one. There is a large body of published data that indicates that seismic activity caused by fluid injection (for solution mining, hydrocarbon production, geothermal energy generation, hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal purposes for example) cause small seismic events i.e. magnitude (ML) ≤ 3.9. The seismic activity associated with hydraulic fracturing is generally less than magnitude 2.0, with the magnitude and number of events depending on local geology, the pressure and duration of the fluid injection, and the injection-rate. The small-size of earthquakes induced by hydraulic fracturing (compared to those generated by other activities) is partly due to the fact that fluid injection is for shorter duration (days as opposed to weeks or years) than for other activities.
This induced seismic activity will probably be minor compared to natural background seismicity. In New Zealand, for example, GeoNet records about 15,000 magnitude 2.5 and larger events in an average year. At the lower end of this scale, most people are unaware that anything is happening – a passing truck generates as much if not more vibration – so the effects of seismic activity that are typically induced by hydraulic fracturing would be hard to separate from the background level of seismicity. The fact that we experience natural earthquakes does not mean that we should be complacent: hydraulic fracturing operations need to be designed and monitored to ensure that they do not present undue risk to people and resources. The minimum pressures and flow-rates required to achieve the desired outcome should be used. If that is done, it is very unlikely that hydraulic fracturing operations will result in any noticeable seismic impact.
15 September 2011
The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme review report is unjustifiably optimistic on the global climate change response, and the Government is urged to get its own facts before reaching any decisions, Straterra says.
The NZETS Review Panel reported today to the Government. Climate Change Minister Hon Dr Nick Smith said he welcomed recommendations to slow down implementation of the scheme to ease price impacts on New Zealanders, and that in general the scheme is working as intended.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today he appreciated the Minister’s announcement that the Government will carry out “detailed work” before making decisions.
“Like the review panel, industry has also been able to assess first hand other countries’ actions, and there is very little to report. Other than Europe, and leaving Australia to resolve its own policy challenges, New Zealand is the only country in the world with a price on carbon, and that situation is not likely to change anytime soon.”
“The report is therefore unrealistic on the required pace of change in New Zealand. Slowing down the entry of some sectors in the ETS, and the two-for-one surrendering obligation for units, by a few years offer little comfort for sectors that cannot pass on the price of carbon, especially when coupled with a steeply climbing carbon price cap.”
“If New Zealand businesses cannot compete with overseas businesses where there is no price on carbon, those businesses will simply reduce output, or even move offshore, with no benefits for the world’s climate, and with adverse effects on the New Zealand economy.”
“That said, the report is sensible in many respects, and the hard work of the review panel is appreciated,” Mr Baker said. “It is appropriate to retain the phase-out rate for sectors that receive free allocation of emissions units by 1.3 percent a year.”
“While mining has wrongly been excluded from being eligible for free allocation of units because of anomalies in ETS design, the reviewers have recommended this be reconsidered. We appreciate the panel’s efforts to understand mining, and in particular the treatment of fugitive emissions and diesel.”
“We would be happy to be involved in further work the Government is doing to ensure New Zealand does our fair share towards the global climate change response, and to make sure the ETS promotes our ability to continue to deliver economic prosperity in an environmentally responsible way.”
30 August 2011
The Government's energy strategy charts the right path for New Zealand, Straterra says.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker was commenting today on the announcement today by Acting-Minister of Energy and Resources Hon Hekia Parata of the New Zealand Energy Strategy.
Mr Baker said the pursuit of renewable energy is important, and it is equally important to recognize the ongoing role of oil and gas and coal in the economy and for investment in ongoing growth of the economy.
"New Zealand needs investment in the resource and other sectors and this strategy provides the right framework and sends the right signals to attract that investment."
"The only sensible energy path for us is to view coal, oil and gas for what they are which is that they are essential to New Zealand, now and for time to come. That being the case, we need to find the best way of using these energy sources in a responsible way."
"To that end, carbon capture and storage technologies will be essential for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Their research and development will be crucial to the implementation of the energy strategy," Mr Baker said.
24 August 2011
Proposed environmental effects legislation for New Zealand's wider marine jurisdiction will provide much-needed certainty for the development of ocean resources, Straterra says.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker was commenting today on the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Bill, introduced into Parliament today.
“It is logical to extend the best features of resource management law on land into the marine environment,” Mr Baker said.
“A consistent approach to assessing, case by case, the effects of proposals to develop New Zealand’s rich resources in the EEZ and ECS, and how these would be managed, and consenting on this basis is eminently sensible.”
“New Zealand’s resources in the oceans include ironsands, rock phosphate, and seabed massive sulphide deposits of precious and base metals, as well as the more familiar oil and gas.”
“Each type of resource is different in its characteristics, and in the methods of development and environmental management. An approach that considers each proposal on its merits is the logical way of proceeding, and that is what this Bill does.”
The Environmental Protection Authority would be the consenting authority, and have responsibility for compliance. Underpinning regulations would enable targeted use of Environmental Impact Assessments in respect of each type of activity.
“Industry believes that in the majority of cases the effects of development on the environment can be managed in a sustainable way,” Mr Baker said. “Properly encouraged and managed, New Zealand’s ocean resources could make a significant contribution to the national economy over time.”
“In the meantime the Continental Shelf Act and the Maritime Transport Act still apply, and this legislation applies strict conditions on any discharge to water from activities in the EEZ. As well, the Ministry for the Environment is introducing interim measures, and it is in everyone’s interest to ensure they achieve sustainable management, pending the passing of the new law.”
The Bill is due to be enacted in July 2012. It has been referred to select committee, allowing for submissions and hearings. Draft regulations will be open for public consultation.
“Straterra looks forward to participating actively in the public policy process on this Bill,” Mr Baker said.
25 July 2011
Resource sector representative body Straterra has added two new members to its board of directors, Cam Wylie and Simon Henderson.
The appointments were confirmed today, after Straterra’s board meeting on 22 July at its offices in Wellington. Straterra chair Mark Cadzow said today:
“We worked hard in the last year to build the organisation to be an effective contributor for the sector, and we are now ready to move to the next stage.”
“Straterra’s membership now stands at 27 firms, representing 84 percent of the value of New Zealand’s minerals production, and also including exploration, services, technical and research companies.”
“We have set up two additional sector groups – ‘Technical, Services and Research’, and ‘Exploration and Minerals’. Cam and Simon will be representing those groups on the board, to strengthen the Board and to better reflect our growing membership,” Mr Cadzow said.
Straterra’s board is: Mark Cadzow (Chief Operating Officer, OceanaGold Ltd); Glen Grindlay (General Manager, Newmont Waihi Gold); Don Elder (CEO, Solid Energy NZ); Brent Francis (Managing Director, Francis Mining, and the Coal Association); Mike Lord (Divisional Sales &Technical Manager, Perry Resources, and AQA); Cam Wylie (Principal, RDCL), and Simon Henderson (President & CEO, Glass Earth Gold Ltd).
Mr Cadzow said in the last year Straterra added two staff to the chief executive position, created a resource hub with sub-tenancies to seven resource sector-oriented firms and entities in Straterra’s premises on The Terrace in Wellington’s CBD; participated in many public policy and legislative processes; and carried out extensive advocacy, communications, and government and industry relations activities.
“The challenge now is for exploration and mining to be seen as part of the Government’s agenda for green growth,” Mr Cadzow said. “New Zealand needs jobs, and our sector could triple or quadruple its contribution to New Zealand if properly managed and encouraged. We know our sector produces essential inputs for all economic activity, and makes a positive contribution across economic, social and environmental fronts, but this must be seen and understood by New Zealanders.”
“To date we have made excellent progress, and our strengthened board will ensure we continue that progress.”
06 April 2011
The resource sector needs more equitable treatment under the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme if our country is to avoid losing businesses and investment to places with no price on carbon, Straterra says.
Chris Baker, CEO, Straterra, was commenting today on the Government’s review of the NZ ETS. Submissions to the NZ ETS Review Panel close today.
“We have a number of concerns, but the system for allocating free units to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries, and the phasing out of those allocations over time are of particular concern to the resource sector,” Mr Baker said today.
“The purpose of the allocation regime at this time is to ensure that, while the ETS sends a clear price signal, it does minimum damage to the economy. Whichever way you cut this, the ETS imposes a cost to the most important parts of our economy - dairy, resources, primary production, at a time when we need as many things in our favour as possible. So we have to get this right.”
“In the case of mining, a sector that should be making an increasingly significant contribution to New Zealand, the allocation regime is not right. We picked up a scheme designed in Australia for Australian conditions but which, for good reasons, was never implemented in that country. We have obviously got it wrong but it can be easily fixed for mining to be treated in the same way as other sectors – and there is no reason not to.”
“It is important for New Zealand to do our fair share in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but, with the need to continue promoting our export-led economy firmly in our sights, to do no more than our fair share.”
“Right now our international trade competitors have no price on carbon and are unlikely to have one any time soon. To make matters more difficult, there are no significant regional or global carbon markets that our businesses can access to buy or sell units to manage the risks arising from uncertain and unknown future carbon prices.”
“The phasing out of free allocation should be put on hold until there is evidence of significant international progress. These issues, and others, are all covered in our submission.”
17 March 2011
“West Coasters, and New Zealand, need some positives at present, Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today. “Lamentably, calls by the Greens, and others, to ‘leave coal in the hole’ provide no positive outcomes for the global climate, for NZ Inc, or for West Coasters looking for investment and job opportunities in their region.”
“The international community has made little practical progress to date in addressing GHG emissions and, while New Zealand absolutely must do its fair share, this certainly does not extend to leaving coal in the ground. We have excellent resource potential in New Zealand, notably on the West Coast, including Pike River, and investment in these resources needs to be encouraged.”
“Coal mining has a strong future in New Zealand because we have the resource potential and global demand for coal will continue, especially in countries striving for better standards of living.”
“Unless and until the world finds alternatives to steel, and cheaper ways of producing electricity, many countries will continue to burn coal. Banning coal mining in New Zealand will not change this reality. And in the meantime we have national and local bills to pay – get real!”
10 February 2011
At Straterra’s board meeting in Wellington on 4 February 2011, Mark Cadzow, Chief Operating Officer of OceanaGold Ltd, was elected Chair. Mark replaces John Dow, the inaugural Chair who has stepped down having successfully overseen the development of Straterra from its conception to the current status.
Mr Cadzow said today Straterra faces a challenging year contributing to government policy processes, and continuing its advocacy for mature and informed debate on resource issues.
“At a time when the Government is seeking to deliver economic prosperity to New Zealanders, environmental issues are also to the fore, in the management of freshwater, public conservation land, and of the territorial sea and the EEZ,” Mr Cadzow said.
“We need to get the balance right and for this we need to develop a better understanding of mining across the public and amongst politicians.”
“I am pleased to be taking over the Chair of Straterra at this time and wish to thank John for his contribution. We have a capable team in place, we have made real progress in terms of the work we are doing, but we have much more to do if the sector is to be unified and mining is to make the contribution to New Zealand that it should.”
31 January 2011
The Government’s relaxing of unrealistic deadlines for entry into force of air-quality standards injects a welcome dose of sanity into this debate, Straterra CEO Chris Baker says.
“Environment Minister Nick Smith has announced a practical and achievable plan for improving air quality in New Zealand and he deserves to be congratulated for that, not censured,” Mr Baker said today.
Hon Dr Nick Smith responded today on Morning Report, Radio NZ, to criticisms by environmental groups of the delay from 2013 to 2020 of entry into force of air quality standards for 15 air sheds. He said industries are a minor contributor to air pollution, compared to home heating and vehicles, but sticking to the 2013 deadline would punish industries most, while not achieving any meaningful gains for air quality.
Mr Baker said Minister Smith’s plan to continue converting homes to cleaner forms of heating and new emissions standards for vehicles is the “realistic plan”, to quote the Minister, to “support economic growth and look after the clean, green image”.
“This is a case of making policy decisions based on facts, which is of course the responsible, 21st Century approach to governing this country,” Mr Baker said.
23 November 2010
“The 29 men trapped underground in the Pike River Coal mine and their families are uppermost in our thoughts while we continue to wait for news,” Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today.
“The Coal Association and Straterra have been providing support over the last five days to the Pike River Coal company, and are liaising with industry,” Mr Baker said.
“There is a high level of interest throughout New Zealand and globally in events. It is important to remember that we are in a waiting game at the moment. Speculation on what might have happened in the mine is not helpful to the rescue effort.”
“At this stage, our focus must be on supporting the rescue effort, and everyone involved in this very difficult situation. Inquiries will come later.”
29 October 2010
The new coastal policy framework provides clear direction for local authorities to consider development in their planning, provided good information is available on which to base decisions, Straterra says.
Chris Baker, CEO of the body representing the New Zealand resource sector, was commenting today on the Coastal Policy Statement 2010, released yesterday by the Minister of Conservation.
“Straterra welcomes the new CPS because it provides greater clarity than the 2004 document on what councils will need to include in regional and district plans,” Mr Baker said today.
“This includes recognition that ‘some uses and developments which depend on the uses of natural and physical resources in the coastal environment are important to the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of people and communities’,”.
“In considering all the values present at places, local authorities will be required to work collaboratively with all stakeholders when making decisions about the development, use and protection of the coastal environment.”
“This is a big step forward in statutory coastal planning but the new CPS will only work well if there is good information on which to base decisions. This means understanding both the economic and the environmental issues at places.”
Mr Baker said councils will have clear direction on the need to protect outstanding natural features and landscapes at places, and sites with representative or significant natural ecosystems, and this is supported by the resource sector, on the basis of the information-based and collaborative approach provided for in the CPS.
Resource activities in the coastal environment include quarrying for aggregate, gold mining, and mining of ironsands for the manufacture of steel. The onshore ironsands mine at Taharoa, Kawhia, has reserves of 184 million tonnes of ore, according to the Ministry of Economic Development Crown Minerals Group. The Glenbrook steel mill, which uses New Zealand ironsands and coal, contributes more than $80 million a year to the South Auckland economy, and employs around 1200 staff.
“Some minerals activities in or near the coastal environment are of regional or national significance to the economy,” Mr Baker said. “It is important to provide for the development of these resources, in an environmentally-responsible way.”
14 October 2010
New Zealand is in an excellent position to withstand any future oil shocks, thanks to our abundant energy resources and in particular our lignite and geothermal resources, Straterra says.
Chris Baker, chief executive of the body representing the New Zealand resource sector, was commenting today on the report released in Wellington yesterday by Parliamentary researcher Clint Smith entitled “The Next Oil Shock”.
“The world has known for a long time there will be growing pressure on petroleum resources leading to price increases and associated price volatility,” Mr Baker said. “There is little new here, however, it is always useful to remind ourselves of likely future scenarios for energy supply and demand, as a call to action.”
“New Zealand is blessed with abundant lignite resources in the South Island and geothermal resources in the North Island. Our challenge is to make appropriate and efficient use of these forms of energy.”
“The lignite resource has been estimated to be in the order of 12 billion tonnes, equivalent to between 30 and 40 Maui gas fields and a world-class energy resource on its own.”
“According to the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, geothermal electricity generation, which stands at 500MW a year currently, could triple over the next decade, to supply 20 percent of New Zealand’s total electricity demand. With sufficient investment in exploration and research this growth could be substantially higher.”
“With enough foresight, New Zealand could be in a much better position than many other countries in the event of sharp variations in energy supply and prices,” Mr Baker said.
“The Government is developing a New Zealand Energy Strategy and is reviewing the Crown Minerals Act, in both cases to promote the environmentally-responsible development of resources, for the benefit of our country.”
“Through the NZCCS Partnership, Government and industry are assessing carbon capture and storage and working with Australia to advance these technologies so that we have options for the development of our lignite resources.”
“We are fortunate to have these resources and our challenge and opportunity is to unlock their potential.”
8 October 2010
The Government’s objectives for the review of the Crown minerals regime are sound but will require more work to achieve them, Straterra says.
Chris Baker, chief executive of the body representing the New Zealand resource sector, was commenting today on Straterra’s submission to “Reviewing the Crown Minerals Act 1991: Discussion Paper”. Submissions on the paper close today.
“The Government’s desire to promote the development of New Zealand’s resources is welcome, as is consultation with the public on its proposals. There are a number of issues of concern to the resource sector, however, and Straterra would welcome being part of any further work to achieve the outcomes the Government is seeking.”
“It goes without saying that the prospecting, exploration and development of resources must be done in an environmentally-responsible way, and all of our comments must be seen in this light.”
“The Government has said it wishes to increase attractiveness for investment in the resource sector. The proposed purpose statement for the Crown Minerals Act should specifically include this objective.”
“Many of the proposed changes seem aimed at the petroleum sector. Straterra proposes the Government develop fit-for-purpose legislation for petroleum, and focus the review of the Act on other minerals. This would make it easier to develop good outcomes for the resource sector as a whole, and for New Zealand.”
“There are a number of other issues we are keen to discuss with the Government, including consideration of geothermal resources. Australia is investing around $1 billion in geothermal research, while New Zealand is investing less than 1 percent of that figure in this area. Yet we have far greater potential than Australia.
“The lack of property rights to geothermal resources in New Zealand, compared to the situation in Australia, may be a determining factor for this imbalance. The Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences has argued geothermal development in New Zealand could triple in the next decade but this would depend on having the right incentives framework in place. Geothermal resources are currently covered under the Resource Management Act, however, this does not adequately address the issue of property rights.”
“The resource sector can and needs to make a much bigger contribution to our standard of living in New Zealand and this review, and the associated consultation, are important steps in our realisation of that contribution.”
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report brings a welcome dose of sanity to the mining debate, Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today.
“Dr Jan Wright is to be commended for presenting mining as an activity that should be and can be environmentally responsible,” Mr Baker said. “The resource sector has long argued this is the case. If it were not, proposals to mine would not be approved.”
The report, “Making difficult decisions: mining the conservation estate”, was tabled in Parliament today. Its genesis followed the Government’s decision on 20 July 2010 to keep land listed on Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act 1991 off-limits to mining.
“Dr Wright says in her report: ‘the greatest threat to New Zealand’s unique biodiversity is not mining but introduced pests … provided conservation takes precedence, some mining operations could well provide a net conservation benefit’,” Mr Baker said. “The resource sector agrees.”
“Many companies already have as a goal to achieve a net positive impact on the environment from their activities, and the industry already works in this area with the Department of Conservation. This is the reality of mining today in New Zealand.”
Activities by mining companies on conservation land include planting native trees and shrubs, pest control to benefit native species, and treatment and recycling of freshwater.
“The recommendations for public input into decision-making on access, for significant projects, are appropriate,” Mr Baker said. “Mining companies put considerable time and effort into local communities; we refer to this as developing our social licence to operate.”
“The economics of mining, management of environmental effects including after mine closure, and support for communities are viewed by the industry as a package. For this reason, we think it does make sense for the Ministers of Conservation and of Energy and Resources to have joint decision-making powers on access applications.”
“As matters stand, more than 90 percent of applications for access to conservation land for mining are approved, with appropriate conditions. As a result pest control and other conservation activities are carried out over a much greater area in New Zealand than would otherwise occur, benefiting native species and the NZ brand. This is as it should be.”
20 September 2010
Government plans to strengthen the management of Crown minerals recognise the growing importance of resources to the New Zealand economy, says Straterra.
Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee announced today the Crown Minerals Group within in the Ministry of Economic Development will develop a “much more commercial and strategic approach”. The Minister was speaking at the New Zealand Petroleum Conference in Auckland.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker said today hiring more skilled staff into Crown Minerals would greatly benefit the petroleum industry, and the resource sector as a whole.
"It’s really important for industry and investment that government processes are efficient and effective, and these changes clearly reflect the Government’s understanding of these issues."
“The resource sector currently employs directly around 6800 New Zealanders, and the flow on effects of this activity create a further 8000 jobs. So, petroleum, coal, minerals and aggregates make a significant contribution to the economy. Properly encouraged, the sector could triple. The improvements to Crown Minerals are therefore an important step.”
“The concept of an advisory board for the unit is also very important. This is a good way of sharing information between the Government and industry so that Crown minerals are managed in the way the legislation intended.”
“In promoting New Zealand’s economic prosperity, the resource sector will continue to pursue environmental responsibility.”
14 September 2010
Southland’s support for lignite mining is evidence of New Zealand community support for mining, and highlights the need for informed debate on mining, says Straterra.
Straterra chief executive Chris Baker was responding to survey results published today by Solid Energy New Zealand and Ravensdown. Of 835 people polled by Venture Southland on behalf of the two companies in Southland and West Otago, 70 percent agreed that the lignite should be mined and used, compared to 9 percent who disagreed. Respondents also said lignite development should be environmentally responsible.
“These findings in favour of mining are what you would expect at a local level,” Mr Baker said. “There’s a very good reason for Southland’s response.”
“Mining creates wealth that can and should benefit the environment. If that weren’t the case, mining would not be approved, nor should it be, and we would not have a social licence to operate.”
“It’s also very clear that mining is a local issue – for specific proposals where we can have all of the facts on the table about the economic benefits, and about the environmental effects and how they will be managed.”
“Lignite is a major resource for New Zealand and it’s very encouraging to see that many Southlanders understand that value.”
1 September 2010
The minerals sector welcomes the draft New Zealand Energy Strategy and is keen to work with the Government on implementation, Straterra chief executive Chris Baker said today.
Mr Baker was commenting on the Ministry of Economic Development’s discussion document “Developing our energy potential”. Submissions closed on 2 September. Straterra’s submission is available on www.straterra.co.nz
“Prioritising energy resource development is sensible, as is the Government’s emphasis on a mix of energy sources to ensure affordability and supply. Both are an advance on the 2007 draft strategy. This can be done in an environmentally-responsible way. Energy efficiency is a key consideration for many businesses including the minerals industry,” Mr Baker said.
“There could be tension between meeting the renewable electricity generation target of 90 percent by 2025 and energy security and affordability, and it’s not clear from the document how this would be managed.”
“It’s also not clear how the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme will affect diversity of energy sources and security of supply. As matters stand, New Zealand will be leading the world on carbon prices and we have a way to go to ensure that impacts on the competitiveness of energy-intensive industries such as dairy processing are minimised. The review in 2011 will be an opportunity to sort this out, with the NZES in mind.”
“The coal sector is working with industry and Government in the New Zealand Carbon Capture and Storage partnership, and this is an important and complementary initiative to keep New Zealand’s options open.
“There is a clear case for partnership between the Government and industry in working to achieve the Government’s priorities. Straterra would welcome the opportunity to participate.”
20 July 2010
The mining and resource sector today welcomed the Government’s decision to fund surveys of minerals potential of parts of Northland and the West Coast of the South Island.
CEO for Straterra, representing the resource sector, Chris Baker, said the decision to leave Schedule 4 unchanged means some protected land is not available for prospecting, however, the Government has sent a clear signal of support for the resource sector in New Zealand.
“The resource sectorhas real potential in New Zealand, as is evidenced by current activity, and has always been able to pursue environmentally responsible development under the RMA and will continue to do that. Prospecting and explorationis complex and can carry big upfront costs as mineral prospects are identified and developed, so we welcome the Government’s decision to fund some of the baseline data gathering in Northland and the West Coast. This investment should increase the attractiveness of these areas for prospecting.” Chris Baker said.
“We also welcome the Government’s decision to ensure that both environmental and economic objectives are properly considered by both the Minister of Conservation and the Minister of Energy and Resources. Issues around economic, mineral and national significance need to be balanced in any mining proposal."
“The resource sector makes an important contribution to the economy and to local communities, and will continue to do that in an environmentally responsible way. Developing the mineral potential for New Zealand is extremely important for our future and we will continue to work with the Government towards a more balanced debate for the benefit of all New Zealanders.”
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