Coal in NZ

New Zealand has a wide range of coal types that have been mined since the 1800s, and there is plenty more of it, through coalfields in the Waikato, West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Southland. At present, the rate of mining cannot keep pace with demand, leading to rising imports of coal.

NZ's coal story

NZ's Coal Story

Click here[] to see a map of New Zealand’s coal fields.

New Zealand has 16 producing coal mines (December 2020) - with the major coalfields located in the Waikato, the West Coast, Otago and Southland. These are all opencast mining operations, which in 2019 produced an estimated 3.5 million...

Continue reading

How NZ uses coal

How NZ uses coal

In New Zealand, coal is used in:

Electricity generation Steel-making, and cement and lime manufacture Food processing - South Island production including milk powder, and other dairy products, meat, vegetable canning, salt, gelatine and dried herbs Heating commercial horticultural hothouses during winter Other industrial process including processing...

Continue reading

How coal is regulated

How coal is regulated in NZ

The coal sector in New Zealand is heavily regulated, with an eye to the environment, workplace health & safety, access to land, and property rights to coal. This is as it should be - society has a right to know that resources such as coal...

Continue reading


New Zealand's energy 'backstop'

In geological terms, lignite 1 is a 'young' fossil fuel. A soft brownish-black rock - the stage between peat and sub-bituminous coal - it is considered a low-quality form of coal, producing high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions on combustion per unit of energy generated.

Lignite is mined for...

Continue reading