The Development of Mining in New Zealand

Walker BV,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Mining activity has been an integral component in the New Zealand economy since the early days of European settlement. Recently in common with other Pacific Rim countries there has been a resurgence of investment in gold. A sustained and increasing exploration effort has resulted in the rapid development of alluvial gold mining operations, a number of hard rock gold discoveries, and a general optimism about New Zealand's prospectivity. New Zealand's attitude to mining development, in particular hard rock gold mining is influenced by high environmental values and a concern, largely through absence of examples, that modern mining may not perform to community standards. While these environmental concerns are wide spread there is a growing realisation that gold mining, if properly managed, can take place within acceptable environmental standards and that it has the potential to contribute significantly to New Zealand's economy. New mining developments have an important role to play in this process. The mining industry in New Zealand is now at a crossroads. Having invested substantially and confirmed the potential for gold mining developments it has found itself in a rapidly changing economic environment as the Labour Government puts in place a number of fundamental economic reforms. The reforms are intended to free up the economy removing the rafts of subsidies and protective measures which have stultified initiative and growth. A fundamental reform of the public service has been initiated including corporatisation of trading activities and the establishment of a Department of Conservation to administer estensive areas of Crown land. Both petroleum and mining taxation are being reviewed with the intention of creating a more neutral competitive environment. Mining legislation is also being re-examined with both efficiency and equity objectives. While the current environment is characterised by uncertainty and rapid change, the outcome will be a more market-oriented stable policy environment, to the mutual benefit of the industry itself and the New Zealand Community.
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