Balanced debate urgently needed on mining in NZ

Balanced debate urgently needed on mining in NZ

Posted on 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."