Miner’s monthly: July 2023

Impacts on mining from National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity

In  July the Ministry for the Environment published the finalised National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. This policy statement, in effect, has the potential to significantly inhibit mining in many areas of the West Coast region and elsewhere in New Zealand.

Under the NPS-IB, district councils and other local authorities around New Zealand are required to map, identify, and protect “significant natural areas”. Once an SNA is designated and established, the process for mining in any significant natural area will be very difficult if not impossible under the legislation.

At the very least, this policy will likely need to be tested in the Environment Court to clearly determine its real world application.

The issues created for miners and access to mineral resources in New Zealand was covered in online publication, Newsroom – this coverage can be found here.

Political panel talks energy and resources in Wellington

Picutred (left to right): Jessica Hammond (The Opportunities Party); Stuart Smith (National Party); Megan Woods (Labour Party); Simon Court (ACT Party); Julie Anne Genter (Green Party); Shane Jones (New Zealand First).

A line-up of those hoping to be minister for energy and resources come the general election in October spoke to some 200 attendants at a BusinessNZ Energy Council political panel in Wellington.

The July event, organised in tandem with other resources sector groups such as Straterra and Energy Resources Aotearoa brought together the spokespersons for energy and resources from various political parties. This included Megan Woods (Labour MP and minister of energy and resources), Stuart Smith (National Party). Simon Court (ACT Party),  Julie Anne Genter (Green Party), Shane Jones (New Zealand First), and Jessica Hammond (The Opportunities Party).

All of the panel’s participants agreed there is a need and a place for mining in New Zealand, and only Julie Anne Genter spoke specifically of the need to ban mining on public conservation lands. 

With regard to climate policy, National and Act remain committed to primarily relying on the Emissions Trading Scheme to reduce New Zealand’s emissions. Conversely the Labour and the Green parties both support additional measures to the NZETS, like recent active interventions such as the government”s provision of $140,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to NZ Steel to reduce its coal consumption by utilising greater quantities of scrap steel and an electric arc furnace, and a similar $90,000,000 transfer of taxpayer’s money to Fonterra to contribute towards reducing coal used in milk processsing.

Government give $90,000,000.00 to Fonterra to enable reduction in coal use

Fonterra Edendale milk plant, which processes approximately 15,000,000 litres of milk per day in peak season and consumes more coal than any other site.

In July the government announced a $90,000,000.00 package for Fonterra to put towards reducing coal use, particularly in the South Island where no natural gas is available.

No specific details were given for how this coal reduction will be achieved, but it is expected to involve a combination of electricity and wood fuels.

Minerals West Coast manager, Patrick Phelps, called Kerre Woodham on NewsTalkZB to share his thoughts on the announcement. The interview can be heard below.

Access to public conservation land, significant natural areas, and gold mining at Bell Hill

In June West Coast gold miner, Riley Perkins, featured in an article in online publication (Newsroom), discussing the ongoing uncertainties associated with the government’s review of stewardship land, access for miners on public conservation land generally, and the implications of designated significant natural areas under the government’s National Policy Statement for Indigenous Biodiversity. 

The full article can be read here.