Mining in NZ

The world needs minerals and mining.  Mining is vital to the way we live. Much of what we do every day depends on the extraction of minerals. That should be done responsibly in New Zealand and globally

Almost every aspect of our modern lives relies on minerals or mineral products, such as base metals, precious metals, coking coal, iron sands, aggregates, limestone and industrial minerals. These are all vital elements used for building and construction, vehicle manufacture and fuel, computers and other electronics, communications, healthcare and dentistry, food production, and energy production and transmission.

Minerals that are mined either here in New Zealand or overseas are so ubiquitous in our daily lives they almost become invisible.  So, the next time you’re using your mobile phone (and there are estimated to be seven billion mobile phones worldwide), consider this: Its raw materials include gold, magnesium compounds, europium, gallium arsenide, palladium, petroleum products and platinum – to name just a few.

Or, when you’re brushing your teeth, consider this: the abrasive particles in toothpaste are made from the likes of crushed aluminium ores, limestone, white sands, zeolites -  a class of minerals related to clays. These minerals are typically quarried from surface industrial mineral deposits.

Either New Zealand must import minerals, directly as raw material or embedded in pre-manufactured goods and products, or we must mine them ourselves. Consider cement and steel, which are necessary for building and maintaining roads, homes, schools and office buildings.

Gold, which is also mined in New Zealand, is used far more widely than in jewellery. It’s an essential component in many new technologies, including medical technology and mobile phones.

Mining is an integral part of New Zealand regional communities, and a major contributor to our economic prosperity. For instance, a 2017 Infometrics report showed productivity (the average economic value created by each worker) in the mining sector is $568,700 per FTE worker compared with $108,200 across the economy.  It is the number one ranked sector and at the other end of the spectrum is accommodation and food service with an average productivity of $31,000.

Nationally, mining generates around $1.0 billion export earnings a year. A 2017 study for OceanaGold found that 86 percent of revenue from their gold mining activities stays in the country as salaries, taxes, rates, royalties, levies and payments to suppliers and contractors.

Everyone Uses Minerals

Minerals are vital to the way we live – in homes, food production, transport and infrastructure, at work and play. The minerals we use in New Zealand must be either mined or recycled, in New Zealand or abroad.

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