Saturday, May 25, 2024

Mining law changes aim for net-zero by 2050

The Government has amended the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to provide flexibility in how the Government manages Crown-owned petroleum and minerals, Energy and Resource Minister, Megan Woods, announced today.

“We have modernised the Crown Minerals Act for consistency with the goal of contributing to net zero carbon emissions to net zero 2050,” Minister Woods said.

“It doesn’t make sense to have a net zero goal in one law and a requirement in another to promote mining fossil fuels that takes us away from achieving that.

“This follows changes in 2021 introducing a requirement for oil and gas companies to carry out and fund the decommissioning of their oil and gas fields. This was in response to the failure by the previous National/Act Government to protect New Zealand taxpayers from bills of hundreds of millions of dollars in liability for field abandonment at the end of their lives.”

Dr Woods said that until today, the Government has been legally required to actively promote exploration of fossil fuels in onshore Taranaki.

“While we still require some fossil fuels today to support the transition to a low-emissions future, this will not always be the case,” she said.

The CMA sets out how the Government allocates rights to mine Crown-owned minerals such as gold, rare earth elements, coal, oil and fossil gas, for New Zealand’s economic benefit.

“There is an ongoing need for minerals in New Zealand. Minerals are needed to build the wind turbines, solar panels and batteries that are essential to the transition. The mining sector continues to play a critical role in supporting the economy, especially in our regions. Today’s change will simply give the Government a greater role in managing the kinds of resources needed in the future.”

Alongside this change, the Government has also amended the CMA to improve engagement between permit holders and iwi and hapū. The changes clarify the Crown’s expectations of permit holders about how engagement should be reported and how iwi and hapū feedback can inform further allocation under the CMA.

“We have set out clear expectations in regards to permit holders’ engagement with iwi and hapū, to ensure it is meaningful and mana enhancing.”

“This is a significant step towards a sustainably managed crown minerals estate to provide for future generations,” Minister Woods said.

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