Investment Promotion

Straterra is building links with the promotional arms of NZP&M and NZTE with a view to making investment opportunities in New Zealand better known.

 

The purpose of the Crown minerals regime is to “promote prospecting for, exploration for, and mining of Crown owned minerals for the benefit of New Zealand” – section 1A of the Crown Minerals Act 1991New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals carries out a variety of promotional work, including: competitive tenders for exploration ground; maintaining and improving the geological database; participating at international investment events and conferences; and compiling official minerals statistics.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise offers some assistance and support to investors coming into New Zealand.

 

Rights to Minerals

The Crown Minerals Act 1991 governs rights to Crown-owned minerals. The purpose of the CMA (section 1A) is to: “promote prospecting for, exploration for, and mining of Crown owned minerals for the benefit of New Zealand”.   

New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals, a business unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, administers the CMA regime. A “permit” is needed for prospecting for, exploration of, and mining of Crown minerals. Criteria for granting permits may include: technical and financial capability of the applicant; evidence of being able to manage health and safety, and environmental effects; and the proposed work plan. Permits may be issued on a first-come-first-served basis, or via competitive tender.

Areas of land may be reserved from allocation at the discretion of the Minister of Energy and Resources. Most minerals activities are prohibited in areas of land and waters listed in Schedule 4 of the CMA.

The detail of the regime is set out in a statutory instrument, the Minerals Programme for Minerals (excluding Petroleum) 2013.

Resource Management Act 1991

Local government - regional councils and district councils – administers the RMA regime, via plans, which contain direction to councils in relation to land and resource use, and “resource consent” processes. An exception is the consenting of “nationally significant” projects, where responsibility falls on the Environmental Protection Authority. Such large projects would be “called in” by the Government, and the hearing mechanism is a Board of Inquiry. Alternatively, an applicant may seek permission from a council for direct referral to the Environment Court to hear the resource consent application. Learn more from the Ministry for the Environment.

The RMA applies to all land, including conservation land, and the marine environment out to 12 nautical miles (22km) from shore.

Oceans

For New Zealand’s marine jurisdiction between 12 and 200 nm (22-370km) from shore, an environmental regime was introduced in 2012. This is the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act. Prospecting and exploration are permitted activities, subject to standard conditions set in regulation, and mining requires a “marine consent”. That legislation replaces relevant provisions in the Continental Shelf Act 1964, and moves are afoot to transfer the regulation of discharges and dumping from the Maritime Transport Act 1994 into the EEZ Act regime.

The purpose of the regime is “sustainable management” of the oceans and its resources.   The Environmental Protection Authority is the regulator.

Mining is prohibited in marine reserves (Marine Reserves Act 1971), and there are restrictions in marine mammal sanctuaries (Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978). Refer to the section on conservation.

Conservation

For mining operations on conservation land, an “access arrangement” will be required under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 from the Minister of Conservation, or, in the case of “significant” projects, from that Minister and the Minister of Energy and Resources. For such projects, the option of applying simultaneously for access and for concessions may be considered. The relevant agency in the first instance is the Department of Conservation.

For other Crown land, access to land will need to be sought from the relevant land-holding Minister, e.g., the Minister for Land Information for land owned by Land Information NZ.

Returning to conservation land, vehicle access (including aircraft), and any activities located outside of the footprint of the exploration or mining operation, will require in addition to the access arrangement a “concession”, under the Conservation Act 1987. The responsible agency is the Department of Conservation.

Biodiversity matters may also need to be addressed under the Wildlife Act 1953 (permits to trans-locate or move native species defined as wildlife), the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 (marine mammal sanctuaries), both DOC responsibilities, and the Biosecurity Act 1993, administered by Biosecurity New Zealand. There may also be the Animal Welfare Act 1999 to consider when exercising a wildlife permit.  

Heritage

Historic heritage and archaeological sites are managed under the New Zealand Heritage Pouhere Taonga Act 2014, having replaced the Historic Places Act 1993. Companies may apply for “authorities” to modify or destroy heritage. This is a material issue in New Zealand – most mining today occurs where mining was done in the past. The environmental and other impacts left behind by the old-timers are today’s heritage. The responsible agency is the Heritage NZ Pouhere Taonga,  and on conservation land, the Department of Conservation.

Other Legislation

Hazardous substances, e.g., explosives, cyanide, fracking chemicals, and the use of mercury in alluvial gold mining are managed under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996. This regime is administered by the EPA. There is potential overlap with New Zealand’s health and safety regime, and, in some cases, with the RMA.

Construction of buildings and other plant is regulated under the Building Act 2004. The relevant agency is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Foreign investors will need to apply for permission to invest in New Zealand, under the Overseas Investment Act 2005. The relevant agency is the Overseas Investment Office.