Everyone Uses Minerals

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

Life in cities, and elsewhere, would be inconceivable without cement and steel. These commodities, with aggregates (gravel), are used in the construction of buildings and infrastructure: e.g., hydro and wind electricity generation and transmission; roads, bridges, overpasses, tunnels; sea and airports; seawalls and flood control schemes; sports and recreation facilities; the oil refinery; and in mining.

The challenge with these bulk commodities is to get them at a good price, and that is a strong incentive for local production, to reduce the transport component of price, which is significant. New Zealand has a cement industry, and a steel mill, at Glenbrook in South Auckland. Our country also imports steel to make up the shortfall in domestic supply. There are around 900 quarries in New Zealand producing aggregates and industrial minerals, such as limestone and clay. Coal is a key ingredient of cement and steel, and is produced in New Zealand.  

What’s in my mobile phone?

The raw materials in a mobile phone come from a variety of mines, with some metal recycling as well. There are an estimated 7 billion mobile phones worldwide. You can find a list of what they typically contain here:

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The use of gold in technology

Gold is the perfect commodity. It is melted, recast and beaten into everything from atom-thin sheets to wire thread. Resistant to rust and corrosion, gold is the world’s most reliable and durable electrical conductor, essential for computer electronics and satellite communications technologies.

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Coal supports NZ food production

Coal and gas in the form of heat are important in food growing and processing because coal in the South Island, and coal and natural gas in the North Island, are approximately one-third the price of electricity.

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