Miner’s Monthly: October 2022

Latest in ‘no new mines’ saga

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage’s Crown Minerals Act Amendment (Prohibition of Mining Bill was drawn from the ballot in August, raising the prospect of the government following through on its 2017 commitment to “no new mines” on conservation land. The bill would have banned and new mines on conservation land, and all new coal mines in New Zealand after 2025.

Since the first talk of “no new mines on conservation land” in November 2017, a series of reasons has been given for not following through with the commitment.

The Labour Party has indicated it will not be supporting Eugenie Sage’s bill, but says it remains committed to the promise of “no new mines”, following the stewardship land review and other changes to the Crown Minerals Act.

Following the announcement of the Green Party’s bill, Minerals West Coast’s manager Patrick Phelps spoke on Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking Breakfast to discuss the issue of mining on public conservation land.

The full interview can be listened to below, or here on Newstalk ZB’s website.

Mining on conservation land debated in print and online

In September Forest and Bird’s chief executive, Nicola Toki, published an opinion piece on Stuff (and in associated print publications such as the Dominion Post and the Press), titled ‘Time for an end to new mines on conservation land’, which can be read in full here.

A week later, Minerals West Coast’s manager Patrick Phelps published a response on Stuff (and in associated print publications such as the Dominion Post and the Press), titled A case for new mines on conservation land – Patrick’s full piece can be read in full  here.

Stewardship land submissions delivered to panels at public hearings

The review process for public conservation land classified as stewardship land on the West Coast is ongoing.

Minerals West Coast spoke at the public hearings following the lodging of written submissions in August, arguing the case for retaining the ability for miners to apply for access to public conservation land, including that which is currently classified as stewardship land.

Minerals West Coast spoke to its submission on the 14th of August at the Arahura Marae. Minerals West Coast’s manager, Patrick Phelps, explained the value of mining and minerals to the West Coast and New Zealand economies, and the benefits to people living on the West Coast and further afield. In addition, Minerals West Coast’s submission covered the strict requirements miners must meet to gain and retain access to public conservation land, the small and temporary nature of mining’s footprint, and the benefits of mining for native biodiversity through increased revenue for the Department of Conservation.

Minerals West Coast spoke in the stewardship land review public hearings at Arahura Marae.

National minerals conference held at Shantytown

Resources 2022 was held at Shantytown near Greymouth in October drawing miners, suppliers, and consultants from all over the country and even from offshore.

The two day conference, held on the 17th and 18th of October, ran as a joint venture between industry association,Straterra, and media and events company, Freeman Media.

The conference covered New Zealand minerals investment opportunities, industry announcements, current mining operations, government and regulatory updates, new technology, leading geoscience and environmental science updates, workforce health and well-being, and pathways towards a low carbon economy. The website gives a full outline of what was covered, and a full programme is available here.

Minerals West Coast trustees Brett Cummings and Dave Stone worked on the content advisory panel that provided guidance for the development of the conference programme, and Minerals West Coast manager, Patrick Phelps, served as master of ceremonies for the two day event.

Patrick Phelps speaking as master of ceremonies at Resources 2022 (Credit Kit Wilson).

Submissions on Emissions Trading Scheme changes and Tai Poutini Plan

In October the Ministry for the Environment consulted on changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Minerals West Coast’s submission can be found in full here. Minerals West Coast’s submission addressed issues with the government’s proposed changes, the lack of global action, the low price placed on emissions compared to New Zealand’s ETS unit price, and the economic struggles New Zealand faces.

Minerals West Coast is also preparing its submission on the proposals of the Te Tai Poutini unitary plan. The deadline for submissions has been extended to the 11th of November. Minerals West Coast will be lodging a submission on behalf of its members – if members wish to lodge their own submissions, they will need to do so before 5:00pm on Friday the 11th of November – information on how to make a submission is available here.

Mining Matters #13: Mikonui moon mine

Two years ago a series of Newsroom articles painted a picture of an alluvial gold mine on conservation land in the Mikonui south of Ross. The latest Mining matters video outlines what was wrong with Newsroom’s version of events, and tries to give a more accurate picture.

Nights with Bryan Crump on RNZ

Every ten weeks or so, Minerals West Coast’s manager, Patrick Phelps, speaks on RNZ Night’s with Bryan Crump. Bryan Crump recently moved on from RNZ Nights to a role as host on Concert FM. In the final interview between Patrick and Bryan, Patrick discussed the nature of discussions about environmental issues in New Zealand, and how it can be improved.