Mining and New Zealand’s Conservation Estate
- There are currently 3.4 million hectares of New Zealand public conservation land listed on Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act 1991, including a sub-set of national parks, and 5.1 million hectares of conservation land not listed on Schedule Four
- In March 2010, the Government released a discussion paper suggesting some conservation land be released from Schedule Four of the Crown Minerals Act for possible availability for mining
- 40,000 people marched on Queen Street to protest mining on conservation land and 37,500 submissions were made. In response, the Government decided not to remove any land from Schedule Four, but all other conservation land was still at risk from mining
- There are currently 57 mines on conservation land
For further information on the above, click here.
Mining Given Preferential Treatment for Use of Conservation Land
- There is reasonable protection for conservation land under the Conservation Act 1987, but in the Crown Minerals Act, mining was exempted and given a less rigorous consenting process.
Coromandel and Gold Mining
- There are currently 15 mining exploration permits on the Coromandel Peninsula/Hauraki covering approximately 40,000 hectares of land – including one offshore at Moanataiari , with a further four under application (as at 17/07/2017) – including one offshore at Waihi Beach.
- Recent exploration by Oceana Gold (who took over Newmont Gold’s NZ interests) yielded evidence of gold and silver, but in an area that includes habitat for several threatened species, including the rare Archey’s frog
- Coastal gems Opoutere and Onemana have also had drilling within Crown Forestry Land
Mining Can Adversely Affect Our ‘Clean Green’ Reputation and associated national image
- Tourism makes a 10% contribution to national GDP versus mining, including oil, gas and coal which
makes up less than 1.5% of the Nation’s GDP (Stats NZ). It is safe to say that it is more likely that tourists are attracted to New Zealand for our beautiful, unique environment than for our mines!
The Promised Economic Benefits for Local Communities
- Newmont Waihi Gold, who were active on the Coromandel/Hauraki area until 2016, claimed to have spent $299 million in the Waihi area from 2006 – 2010, yet the town schools are ranked decile 3 or below, and Waihi has the lowest decile ranking in the social deprivation index of any Coromandel region town. To learn more…. There is also further discussion of the index here.
The Legacy of Mining for the New Zealand Taxpayer
- No royalties have ever been paid on the Waihi Martha Open Pit Mine
- Newmont Waihi Gold’s Martha Mine has generated tailings approximately 300 times larger than those at the Tui mine. Using the Tui mine costings as a benchmark, if just 10% of the Martha mine tailings required similar remedial work in the future the cost to taxpayers would be approximately $500 million. Read more…
- Newmont Waihi Gold has provided bonds of approximately $40 million. But only a $10 million bond will be available in the long term, and even this is “reviewable”. About 10 years after mine closure, Newmont will hand title of the tailings dam to a local Trust and the mining company will wipe its hands of any further liability. To learn more…