Straterra has called on the Government to bin proposed changes to the Crown Minerals Act, saying the move will jeopardise investment in mining, including in critical minerals needed to fuel a low emissions future.
Straterra has made a submission on the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, which is up for debate by select committee as it makes its way into law.
“Sustainable energy, infrastructure, climate change mitigation and the continuation of modern life as we know it relies on mining,” said Straterra CEO, Josie Vidal.
“This is why the world is demanding more mining, not less, and certainly not bans on new mining or anti-mining rhetoric to politically play to a few.”
Ms Vidal said it would be concerning if, by taking an anti-mining stance in the Bill, ideology isolated New Zealand from the rest of the world in the quest to resource a better future with minerals, responsibly mined in an employment environment that values worker health and safety, working conditions, and remuneration.
“The way we mine in New Zealand, within strict employment laws and stringent environmental rules and regulations is a benefit. It is not the case the world over. When people start looking at the provenance of their mined minerals, we are a country that stands out on the side of good,” she said.
“That has made New Zealand an attractive prospect for investors. But investors are risk averse and when you have anti-mining sentiment creeping into law, it sends a strong negative signal to not only investors, but also to other Governments we have relationships with and the public at large.
“It encourages the view among sections of the public that mining should not be supported and perpetuates the myth and falsehood that modern mining in New Zealand is not environmentally responsible.”
She said Straterra did not support the Bill and recommended rescinding it in its entirety.
“Its first reading was rushed through under urgency at the end of last year and this was unnecessary. We particularly do not support the Bill abdicating the Government’s responsibility to ‘promote’ mining by removing the word completely from the purpose statement.”
Ms Vidal said it was also inappropriate to consider the proposed changes to the Bill in the absence of the Government’s strategy for critical minerals, which is yet to be announced.
“Critical minerals are appropriately named – life as we know it cannot go on without them,” she said.
“The critical minerals strategy will have geopolitical implications and must be part of enabling law. This is not enabling law and there is absolutely no need to continue to rush it through.
“It’s time to pause and wait for the big picture to be clear and the important strategy around the future of minerals in New Zealand to be developed.”
Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand’s minerals and mining sector.