Mining act changes ‘at odds’ with climate change


Changes to the Crown Minerals Act, intended to strengthen its environmental focus, is being criticised by a mining industry body as doing the exact opposite

The Crown Minerals Act (CMA) will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals.

The changes, passed under urgency, support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says Energy and Resource Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“Requirements in the CMA for the Government to actively promote fossil fuel exploration are out of date. It’s time we changed our laws so that they are consistent with our climate change commitments to phase out polluting fossil fuels and transition to net zero by 2050.”

However, the Government is sending the wrong message according to Straterra, the industry association representing New Zealand’s minerals and mining sector.

“The Government is conflating mining and emissions, when not all Crown minerals are fossil fuels,” says Straterra Chief Executive 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.

“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.


“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.”

Straterra will submit on the Bill when it goes to Select Committee.