Mining and conservation can co-exist

The suggestion from Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee that the government is planning to investigate mineral potential on conservation land should be regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat.

Australia’s mineral resources are often cited as one of the reasons its economy is so much stronger than ours. But, we do have mineral resources, the problem is getting to them because many are under conservation land.

There are obviously competing objectives here but there is scope to explore how economic development objectives could be better reconciled with other land values.

There is the potential for more flexible arrangements that do not undermine conservation and environmental objectives.

The government made a small step towards this earlier this year with the Oteake Conservation Park which lies between North and Central Otago. It shows how it might be possible to mine a small area while safeguarding the rest.

When the park was formed an area of 195 hectares over a lignite reserve was excluded, leaving 64,805 hectares in the conservation estate.

That is a tiny amount of land which might be able to be mined while leaving a large area protected.

When he announced this, Conservation Minister Tim Groser said there were no immediate plans to mine the deposit but it could yield liquid fuels equivalent to New Zealand’s transport requirements for 15 to 20 years

4 Responses to Mining and conservation can co-exist

  1. andrei says:

    I visited an open cast coal mine in Germany.

    As a seam is exhausted the removed material is replaced with the slag from the new workings and then landscaped. The end result is land that is far better and more fertile than it was originally.

    Parkland in fact.


  2. Neil says:

    Just go to Millers Flat ,close to Roxburgh, where L&M Gold extracted gold. From rubbishy vegetation emerged magnificent farm pasture land. Much better than before.
    Knee jerk reactions are common for some of our greenie mates, who want the country to head into a modern day Dark Ages


  3. Red Rosa says:

    Quote from Gerry Brownlee

    ‘But we certainly have no intention of digging up the Crown’s conservation estate.’

    So that’s OK then? We will and we won’t.

    You can conserve something, and mine it too.

    Simple really, thickos. Government knows best.


  4. murrayg1 says:

    Millers flat was a man-modified piece of pasture, not a piece of prime conservation land. It is always better to compare apples with apples.
    The really sad thing, is that the whole of the current Government are chasing an impossibility – infinite growth. In a finite system – the planet, the country, and the Conservation Estate are finite systems – you cannot exponentially expand forever. The last doubling-time gets you every time, and we are there now. No matter how much lignite (and whatever) gets extracted, it can’t get us to a doubling from here. It can’t even replace the dwindling supply from other sources. We have to get to a state of equilibrium with our resources (as you do with a farm) and hand them on to our children in the same state we found them. Anything less is handing them a debt (less natural wildlife, flora and fauna, and less lignite or whatever, more CO2) which they didn’t sign up to. I call that fraud.


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