Mining industry welcomes Government consultation
Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation, is pleased Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage will consult with industry on how to implement the Government’s proposal of ‘no new mines on conservation land’.
Minister Sage and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods have announced they will consult the mining sector along with other groups and the wider public through a discussion document to be released in September.
“Straterra welcomes the opportunity to provide feedback, and be part of an informed public debate, about how to achieve the environmental outcomes sought by the Government while protecting regional jobs,” said Straterra CEO Chris Baker, speaking at the industry’s annual conference today.
“As well as providing jobs and contributing to economic development in regional New Zealand, mining plays a crucial role in our export-reliant economy. We cannot ignore the contribution the minerals industry makes to regional development, which the Government has identified as crucial to New Zealand’s prosperity.”
A blanket ban on new mining on conservation land would compromise significant economic opportunities, particularly for the regions. Government intervention beyond existing legislation, such as bans, would discourage exploration, further investment, and regional jobs, Chris Baker said.
“It will also limit the opportunities to discover high value deposits including rare earths and green minerals. Green minerals have an important role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy. Minister Woods, in her opening address at Straterra’s industry conference this morning, acknowledged this.
“Conservation land varies widely in its quality and value. We want to see a nuanced approach where all applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, and there is a net-positive benefit.
“Straterra, and the wider minerals sector, wants to work with the Government to support regional growth. Realistic pragmatism will drive that growth, with sound conditions in place to encourage investment and so society can be confident high and appropriate environment and labour standards will be imposed on proposed activities.
“We look forward to seeing the consultation document and providing more detailed feedback on the proposals.”
Government figures show the minerals sector contributed $418 million in GDP. In regions such as the West Coast, mining accounts for 22 percent of regional GDP and supports 1180 jobs. The minerals sector also has very high productivity ($354,000 of GDP per filled job) and generates high incomes.