Changes to the Crown Minerals Act, being introduced to Parliament under urgency today, send the wrong message, says Straterra CEO Josie Vidal.
“Changing the purpose of the Act and removing the Government’s obligation to promote prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals is at odds with what is happening globally,” Vidal says.
“The world needs more mining to meet climate change goals, so the hunt is on for the mineral supply to meet demand. More than $4 trillion worth of investment is going to be needed over the next 30 years in mining and minerals processing.
“The reality is, an electric vehicle uses six times the minerals of a conventional car, and an onshore wind plant uses nine times more minerals than a gas fired plant. More than 220 tonnes of coal are required to build a wind turbine.
“While most countries with mineral deposits are gearing up to create supply for batteries, to build wind and solar energy production, and to build the infrastructure for a fully electric future, New Zealand is going in the opposite direction.
“This sends a negative message to the investors needed for mining in New Zealand to have a solutions-focused approach to low emissions based in science and evidence, rather than ideology.
“The Prime Minister said this week that we have to trade our way out of financial woes, but it appears that comes with some fine print.
“Trade partners ask me what support the Government gives mining. Those are awkward conversations. And I’m a big champion of brand New Zealand.
“What I can say is we are proud of our responsible mining industry. We operate under strict employment and health and safety laws and stringent environmental regulations.
“Mining companies are doing some world leading work in remediation after mining, sometimes cleaning up the mess left by Crown owned mines.
“New Zealand has minerals and can make a valuable contribution to the low emissions future, but we need enabling law. Demand will always be there and eventually that will put the pressure on supply that will necessitate changes.
“The Government is conflating mining and emissions, when not all Crown minerals are fossil fuels. In fact, mining is less than 0.5% of New Zealand’s emissions.”
Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand minerals and mining sector. Straterra will submit on the Bill when it goes to Select Committee.