The New Zealand government recently released the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Strategy 2019-2029, which highlights the importance of the mining and oil sectors for the country's goal of transitioning to a low-emission economy.
According to the document, the island nation may soon begin to explore opportunities to meet its domestic and international needs. And the global demand for clean technical minerals such as cobalt and lithium. “As the energy system changes, we also need to ensure that we have the necessary minerals (such as rare earth elements) to produce the technology needed to drive future growth. To meet these challenges, the minerals and oil sectors need to plan immediately to build a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy." In addition to battery metals and rare earth elements, the proposal recognizes the need for fossil fuels and base metals.“We need to ensure that we have the required aggregate (gravel) or alternative materials to build the foundation of the house and the road.We need coal to make the steel needed for the city, but we should start researching alternative methods to steel production that reduce environmental impact. ”
The document emphasizes the importance of protecting the environment and appropriately consults the communities surrounding the mining project and the indigenous communities whose heritage may be affected by the mining activities.In this regard, the strategy provides some principles to guide mining operations.That is, it requires miners to make continuous improvements in health and safety and to find innovative ways to increase the resource efficiency of mining operations while minimizing their negative impact.Where unavoidable impacts are required, the industry is required to work with stakeholders and implement a management system to understand and manage the negative impacts of its operations while achieving remediation opportunities.
The New Zealand government says it plans to achieve these ambitious goals through the modernization of the 《Royal Minerals Act》.Ensuring affordable resources to meet the country's mineral and energy needs; improving treaty partnerships and stakeholder and community participation; improving industry compliance; and promoting research and investment to better exploit and utilize resources.
In response to this strategy, New Zealand's mining sector industry organization Straterra issued a communiqué stating that its members "cruisely welcome" the document.Although the organization praised the strategy for recognizing the importance of minerals to society and expressed its willingness to work with the sector, the organization still laments the fact that the strategy remains the administration's support for the policy of “protecting land without new mines”. Shortly after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took office, the proposed regulation was announced in 2017, but the regulation has not yet entered into force.The resource sector faces many reforms with the goal of improving environmental outcomes. The reality is that many aspects of these reforms will only result in reduced or zero investment. Straterra CEO Chris Baker said in a statement. We hope that this resource strategy will somehow influence the balance needed for these reforms to achieve better environmental outcomes and attract more responsible investment.”