Mining conservation land

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12 years 3 months ago #22412 by Pest Advice
This is a comment from someone that is not Kiwi (yet). But someone that came to New Zealand and wants to stay because I love the place for its people and its sensational beauty.

Against mining on conservation land or is it for?:
  • What is the point of conserving land if it is not protected?
  • Any valuable minerals on conservation land may become more valuable if left where they are.
  • Mining methods have become more efficient and less damaging to the environment over time. It follows, therefore, that mining will be less invasive at a later date.
  • We must decide at what point the mining is most profitable for New Zealand and least damaging to our/your wonderful environment.
For me, the value of the minerals is 1/10th of that required. Perhaps they will never be valuable enough.

David

The Pest Advice

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12 years 3 months ago #322543 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Mining conservation land
Here's a response from a 3rd generation Kiwi, David:

- I was talking about this with our local MP, John Carter yesterday
- The Department of Conservation (DOC) has far more land than it can afford to maintain
- In many cases, the land ended up with DOC as the result of a bequest, or because nobody else wanted it
- In Northland, much DOC land is just left to grow gorse and is a real eyesore
- Of course, there is other DOC land that is the jewel in the crown of NZ; therefore should never be mined

I am not against mining on DOC land per se, but:

- A very careful cost/benefit analysis needs to be done, and for example, I think that mining on Great Barrier Island would be difficult to justify on this basis, if not impossible
- I am also sceptical as to whether mining in the Coromandel stacks up because of its scenic beauty, and the poor transport links
- However, there are parts of Northland where I believe it does make sense e.g. there was some gold prospecting being done near Kaeo, and also in areas of the Russell forest not too far from here
- And I think that Westland could also potentially make sense, due to its already proven rich mineral reserves -- Hell, they are already mining on DOC land down there IIRC

So, there you have it. A case-by-case analysis needs to be done, followed by careful prospecting in the most favourable areas. Only once the prospecting results are in, can the full picture be ascertained. For example, there are areas that would look good on paper, but the mineral reserves may be too deep or otherwise difficult to get out. Then there may be other areas, where extraction turns out to be easier than expected.

Finally, I see that John Key has tonight given an assurance that "There will be no open cast mining on Great Barrier Island or Coromandel". I would be in favour of extending this approach to as many areas as possible. Thereby only targetting those areas where the richness of the mineral resources justifies the higher extraction cost mandated by underground methods. Hell, we don't want to end up with giant craters like they have in Australia, or even something on the scale of the Opencast Pit at Waihi :eek:

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12 years 3 months ago #322549 by DiDi
Replied by DiDi on topic Mining conservation land
Well stated Grant. I am personally thinking - go for it. If there are billions of dollars under our soils that can improve the overall wealth and prosperity of our population then we should be doing it. Look at the mining in Australia and the overall weath and prosperity that has created.

However, my personal feeling is that it should not be in someones back yard and causing personal grief, as the Pylon issue is for rural people. On the other hand, ugly as it is, the mining in Waihi is bringing in $10M for the local economy.

Of 27 million hectares, this Government is only talking about 7000ha. Are we worried that in time that will turn into 70,000ha. Maybe. However, anyone who does not recognise that NZ is a tiny South seas Island on the world stage is damn ignorant. We cannot go on the way we are and if the ground will yield billions of dollars (as long as that is for NZ and not offshore Companies) then I am willing to listen to the proposals and not just scream blue murder because of a presumtion it is a bad thing. Just do it in the backyard - not the front yard.

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12 years 3 months ago #322553 by Organix
Replied by Organix on topic Mining conservation land

DiDi;308361 wrote: Well stated Grant. I am personally thinking - go for it. If there are billions of dollars under our soils that can improve the overall wealth and prosperity of our population then we should be doing it. Look at the mining in Australia and the overall weath and prosperity that has created.

Two points of argument:

Like the oil industry, very little of the wealth contained under our feet will stay in NZ. Foreign companies will provide employment for a number of NZers but most of the returns will be realised far from our shores.

For the most part Australia looks like an open cast mine to start with so not comparable in terms of loss of natural beauty, and increasingly their actual mines are being sold to overseas (e.g. Chinese) owners thus reducing the returns to Australia. Not a good example :(

DiDi;308361 wrote: However, my personal feeling is that it should not be in someones back yard and causing personal grief, as the Pylon issue is for rural people. On the other hand, ugly as it is, the mining in Waihi is bringing in $10M for the local economy.

New Zealand is small enough to ensure that most of our area is actually somebody's back yard.

DiDi;308361 wrote: Of 27 million hectares, this Government is only talking about 7000ha. Are we worried that in time that will turn into 70,000ha. Maybe. However, anyone who does not recognise that NZ is a tiny South seas Island on the world stage is damn ignorant. We cannot go on the way we are and if the ground will yield billions of dollars (as long as that is for NZ and not offshore Companies) then I am willing to listen to the proposals and not just scream blue murder because of a presumtion it is a bad thing. Just do it in the backyard - not the front yard.

The entire strategy is very shortsighted. Mining is by definition not sustainable. Once you dig it out it is gone and at the rate we are digging up our planet we are rapidly heading towards needing a few more planet Earths to sate our increasing appetite for minerals. Check out "Home" , it will give you a whole new outlook on what we are up to and where we are headed, and it doesn't look good :( .

Harm Less Solutions.co.nz
NZ & AU distributor of Eco Wood Treatment stains and Bambu Dru bamboo fabrics and clothing

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12 years 3 months ago #322558 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic Mining conservation land

DiDi;308361 wrote: Well stated Grant. I am personally thinking - go for it. If there are billions of dollars under our soils that can improve the overall wealth and prosperity of our population then we should be doing it. Look at the mining in Australia and the overall weath and prosperity that has created.

However, my personal feeling is that it should not be in someones back yard and causing personal grief, as the Pylon issue is for rural people. On the other hand, ugly as it is, the mining in Waihi is bringing in $10M for the local economy.

We cannot go on the way we are and if the ground will yield billions of dollars (as long as that is for NZ and not offshore Companies) then I am willing to listen to the proposals and not just scream blue murder because of a presumtion it is a bad thing. Just do it in the backyard - not the front yard.

It only needs 1 critical documentary about mining in NZ National Parks screened in Europe, Japan and the US and the premium they pay for our agricultural products will be wiped out overnight.

Regarding the Billions of Dollars buried beneath NZ soils: How many Billions does it cost to retrieve it? NZ does not have the ability to do the mining itself. Australia does. Only a fool would think that the wealth mining in National Parks creates will benefit ordinary New Zealanders. Unfortunately I didn't keep the article I had about NZ's oil and gas fields. It said how much it did cost to explore the area, how much it cost to do the test drillings etc and the company who does it isn't in it as a charity so what stays in NZ was less than 5% of the value of the reserves.

Grant - I wouldn't mind a mine in gorse infested wasteland. However, we visited Paparoa National park last January. There is no wasteland - there are beautiful nikau stands, bush, streams, ferns and of course the Pancake Rocks.

Imagine the infrastructure that would be necessary to bring those giant machines to either Rakiura or Great Barrier Island. Whole new roads would need to be built, wharfs, etc.

And best of all - the plan is to start mining in 5 years time, probably well after this National government is history so a new government who didn't agree with all this happening will have to deal with the protesters who block roads etc.[}:)]

I reckon minerals in the soil are better than money in the bank - there is no need to hurry to dig them up right now. Once they are gone they are gone for good.

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12 years 3 months ago #322559 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Mining conservation land
Further to my post above, I just found this:

..."If it (mining) was going to have such a disastrous impact, can someone explain why we had a record number of tourists last year while there were 82 mines operating in the conservation estate - with 74 of those permits granted by the Labour government," John Key said.

So ... it's not just one mine that's already operating in the conservation estate, it's 82 !!!.

If they add another 5 or 10 mines, is it really going to "wipe out the premium Europe, Japan and the US pay for our agricultural products" as Simkin says?

I fail to see the logic behind that assertion, when 82 mines are already operating!

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12 years 3 months ago #322560 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Mining conservation land
I recently had a look at the great hole they have dug in Waihi. They are supposed to turn this into a lake when it is finished, but it's going to be dangerously deep!


Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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12 years 3 months ago #322562 by FencerMan
Replied by FencerMan on topic Mining conservation land
I was also going to point out just how much mining is already going in. I used to work for an earth moving company, in Auckland, and have been around all the quarries in Auckland. Generally they are unnoticed.

NZ is hanging onto its 1st world status by a thread, and I dont want us to keep borrowing to pay for it, and leave the next few generations for figure out how to pay for it!

Do something.

Either lead, follow, or get out of the way.

'Ted Turner'

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12 years 3 months ago #322563 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Mining conservation land
Thanks for posting that picture Stikkibeek.

A few years ago, we went for a ride down into that pit during an open day they held at the mine. It was an awe-inspiring sight, and I'm sure it's quite a lot deeper now than it was then!

In future, if we can avoid this type of scar on the landscape it would be a much preferred outcome. NZ probably has enough lakes already!

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12 years 3 months ago #322567 by Simkin
Replied by Simkin on topic Mining conservation land

GrantK;308373 wrote: Further to my post above, I just found this:

So ... it's not just one mine that's already operating in the conservation estate, it's 82 !!!.

If they add another 5 or 10 mines, is it really going to "wipe out the premium Europe, Japan and the US pay for our agricultural products" as Simkin says?

I fail to see the logic behind that assertion, when 82 mines are already operating!

Grant - didn't you write further above that there is plenty of conservation land that is gorse infested wasteland?

I don't think the issue is that it is conservation land. The issue is that it is Schedule 4 conservation land which has been specifically protected from
mining by law. It is pristine untouched wilderness.

There is a large quarry on Banks Peninsula which isn't that different from the Waihi mine - only smaller. It goes unnoticed unless you know where it is. The only thing you would notice are the heavy trucks crossing the road. The difference between Banks Peninsula and Rakiura or Great Barrier Island is that Banks Peninsula has roads in place together with access to an international port (I don't think they export the stones, though). That Port of Lyttelton is an ugly thing - it spoils the whole view of Lyttelton harbour. I'd hate to see something like it in one of our national parks.

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12 years 3 months ago #322568 by kiwi_jon
Replied by kiwi_jon on topic Mining conservation land

GrantK;308373 wrote: Further to my post above, I just found this:

So ... it's not just one mine that's already operating in the conservation estate, it's 82 !!!.

If they add another 5 or 10 mines, is it really going to "wipe out the premium Europe, Japan and the US pay for our agricultural products" as Simkin says?

I fail to see the logic behind that assertion, when 82 mines are already operating!

Grant, none of those 82 mines are operating in Schedule 4 conservation land.

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12 years 3 months ago #322569 by davet
Replied by davet on topic Mining conservation land
The biggest miner in NZ is Solid Energy, a Govt S.O.E. no profit going overseas.Are the Greenies against this because it will create employment, hard to protest when your wages are going to be stopped, unlike the dole which continues.

Never go to bed angry....
Stay up and get your revenge

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12 years 3 months ago #322574 by sod
Replied by sod on topic Mining conservation land
davet good point mate

Having time is a measure of enthusiasm:rolleyes:

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12 years 3 months ago #322580 by arnie.m
Replied by arnie.m on topic Mining conservation land
Everyone seems to forget that 7000ha MAY be looked at for mining but only a very small portion (reported to be around 56ha) will be mined and of course there is the 12000ha of land that is going to shifted into schedule 4 that some people a forgetting.

I think this proposal is a good starting point, and once the extremists on BOTH sides have it explained to them, some mining will be of great benefit to NZ. I cannot see the correlation between a mine and the collapse of our Agriculture industry. I don't think that many overseas would even know schedule 4 existed and that it is going to increase in size not decrease.

arnie
88 Valley
Nelson

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12 years 3 months ago #322588 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic Mining conservation land

Simkin;308381 wrote: I don't think the issue is that it is conservation land. The issue is that it is Schedule 4 conservation land which has been specifically protected from mining by law. It is pristine untouched wilderness.

kiwi_jon;308382 wrote: Grant, none of those 82 mines are operating in Schedule 4 conservation land.

OK, those are good points; the Herald article didn't make that clear. Thanks guys.

Simkin;308381 wrote: There is a large quarry on Banks Peninsula which isn't that different from the Waihi mine - only smaller. It goes unnoticed unless you know where it is. The only thing you would notice are the heavy trucks crossing the road. The difference between Banks Peninsula and Rakiura or Great Barrier Island is that Banks Peninsula has roads in place together with access to an international port (I don't think they export the stones, though). That Port of Lyttelton is an ugly thing - it spoils the whole view of Lyttelton harbour. I'd hate to see something like it in one of our national parks.

Yes, I know what you mean regarding "ugly" ports. Some of them you look at and think OK, it's there for a purpose, has been done in a sensitive way (I'm thinking of Auckland here) whereas others like those in Whangarei harbour where there is an Oil Refinery and a large Log Export facility, are pretty ugly, and I would definitely NOT want to have a house where either of those was visible.

So, I take your point about not wanting to see a large ugly facility in a pristine National Park. I guess it all comes down to the commodity which is being exported. If it's gold, then possibly they can refine it on site, as they do in Waihi, so there is just a very small high-value product to export. No port is needed for that.

However, if it's Iron Ore, like Australia I guess they would need to export the raw commodity in which case there would be a huge ugly port. Although, I doubt very much whether any small NZ mine would be trying to compete with the Australian producers, so it's probably a moot point.

Ideally, any new mine where there is a high volume of product to export, should put in a rail line and ship the product out via an existing port. No doubt, these are all considerations which will be taken account of during the assessment process, after the prospecting results are in. The presence of a nearby existing port would clearly have quite an impact on the economics (or otherwise) of any proposed mining venture, so I'm sure it's something that would be looked at.

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