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New Zealand Mining Facts

(PR.co.nz) Minister of Energy and Resources Gerry Brownlee says much of the noise around the government’s modest proposals to open up a portion of Schedule Four land for possible mining is ignoring the facts about mining’s role in the economy.

“Green mining is not an oxymoron, and the government has made it clear that should Schedule Four lands be released, and should those lands show viable mining prospects, only modest and environmentally responsible mining would ever take place,” Mr Brownlee said.

“As for suggestions that modest and environmentally responsible mining on a small portion of the conservation estate would be ruinous to New Zealand’s international reputation, the facts to date suggest nothing could be further from the truth.”

Fact: There is already mining on conservation land

As at September 2009 there were 82 mines already operating on conservation land.(1) Many permits were issued by the last Labour-led government.

Between 2000 and 2008 international tourist numbers to the country increased 37 per cent from 1,789,078 in 2000 to 2,447,208 in 2008.(2)

Fact: Mining in New Zealand is a $2 billion industry

2008 was a record year of production for New Zealand mining. The industry has been growing strongly in recent years, driven by global demand for our resources.(3)

Fact: Mining is an important export industry for New Zealand

In 2009, mining brought in $1.1 billion worth of export receipts for New Zealand.(4)

Fact: Mining employs thousands of New Zealanders in high-paying, highly productive jobs

The mining sector, including oil and gas, directly employs about 6,000 people in New Zealand and thousands more indirectly. (5)

Jobs in the mining sector are highly productive. In the 2000-2005 period the mining sector (including oil and gas) returned an average $360,000 of GDP per full time employee, nearly six times the national average. (6)

Workers in the mining sector average an income of $60,000 per employee – over double the national average. (7)

Fact: Mining is far more productive than most other land-intensive applications

Mines in New Zealand use an extremely small amount of land (around 4,000 hectares), less than 0.015 per cent of our total land area.

The export value of that land is $175,000 per hectare. Dairy farming by comparison uses 2 million hectares of land with an export value of only $3,500 per hectare. (8)

Fact: Mining companies in New Zealand are New Zealand-owned as well as foreign owned

The largest mining company in New Zealand is Solid Energy, which as a state-owned enterprise is 100 per cent owned by the New Zealand taxpayer.

Between 2000 and 2009 Solid Energy made profits of $466 million and returned dividends to the Crown of $90 million. (9)

In fact NZX listed resources stocks have on average 57% local ownership compared to 43% offshore ownership. (10)

“As I said at the release of the government’s discussion paper on the mineral potential of Schedule Four land, New Zealand is a mineral rich country and the minerals sector has an important role to play in growing our economy.

“Whether Schedule Four land plays any part delivering greater prosperity, security and opportunity for all New Zealanders by way of mining is up for discussion over the next six weeks,” Mr Brownlee said.

The government’s discussion paper on the mineral potential of Schedule Four land, is available at www.med.govt.nz/schedule4.

1 Answer to written question 13547(2009).

2 International Travel and Migration, Statistics New Zealand (December 2008).

3 Ministry of Economic Development data.

4 Ministry of Economic Development data.

5 McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

6 McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

7 Statistics New Zealand, McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

8 Richard Barker (Consulting Geologist), “The Natural Resource Potential of New Zealand” (March 2008).

9 Solid Energy Annual Reports 2000-2009 inclusive.

10 McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

(1) Answer to written question 13547(2009).

(2) International Travel and Migration, Statistics New Zealand (December 2008).

(3) Ministry of Economic Development data.

(4) Ministry of Economic Development data.

(5) McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

(6) McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

(7) Statistics New Zealand, McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

(8) Richard Barker (Consulting Geologist), “The Natural Resource Potential of New Zealand” (March 2008).

(9) Solid Energy Annual Reports 2000-2009 inclusive.

(10) McDouall Stuart Research, “Stepping Up” (June 2009)

Media Release 24 March 2010 from Hon Gerry Brownlee, Minister of Energy and Resources.
Telephone (04)817 6802
Email g.brownlee@ministers.govt.nz

 



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