Straterra submitted a 24-page Minerals Briefing Paper 2014 to the New Zealand Parliament that outlined mining?s ?significant? contribution, as well as some policy prescriptions that the group believed ?would be good for New Zealanders and the New Zealand economy?.
The group called for low-impact activities of mineral prospecting and exploration to be made automatically permissible. However, it was not convinced that major reforms to the Resource Management Act?s balance between environmental and economic influences would improve the lengthy and complex processes currently facing many mining projects to obtain resource consents.
The paper recommended an overhaul of the way the Conservation Act manages access for miners to conservation land and replacement of the Historic Places Act with new legislation to better deal with ?modifying archaeological sites and heritage?.
It also called for investment in aerial mapping of the entire country to improve understanding of its geophysical properties and mineral potential. The exercise could cost around $70 million and be undertaken over a five-year period to spread the expense.
According to the paper, New Zealand scores the lowest among Australasian jurisdictions for administration of natural resources and rights to minerals exploration, despite scoring the highest for policy design.
The paper claimed that improved promotion, policies and regulation could treble minerals investment and output from the mining industry, which is currently worth $NZD1.1 billion a year in exports. Without changes, the mineral sector is at risk of declining, the report said.
Straterra CEO Chris Baker said mining had an impact on everybody?s lives ? not just the 8000 people employed indirectly and directly by the industry.
?Most people have no idea at all of the extent to which we are dependent on minerals, including coal, for the things in our lives we take for granted,? he said. ?Either we must import these minerals embedded in goods and services, or we must produce them ourselves ? the latter option is much better for New Zealand when we have the capacity to do so.
?Mining is vital to the way we live, and we believe it is time New Zealanders had the facts about how mining is integrated into their everyday lives,? he added.
In conjunction with the launch of the paper, Straterra also developed a new website presence called Mining4NZ that outlines the facts and figures about the benefits that mining brings to New Zealand, its communities and its consumers.
The 2014 minerals briefing paper is available on Straterra?s website.
Sources: Straterra, Fairfax Media, The National Business Review