This publication provides an overview to the regulatory regime governing the development of New Zealand’s substantial minerals endowment.
The latest Petroleum and Minerals Report notes that the minerals sector is the most productive in the New Zealand economy and that the summer of 2014 is one of the busiest on record with 13 exploratory wells being drilled offshore and 27 onshore.
Key pieces of legislation
The Crown Minerals Amendment Act 2013 - sets up a two tier system to focus the regulatory effort on those mining activities which are more complex and offer the highest returns to the government: petroleum (oil and gas), hard rock gold and silver, coal and ironsands, phosphates and sulphides. The Act came into force on 24 May 2013.
The Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act 2013 – sets out detailed requirements for a mandatory worker participation health and safety system in mine operations.
The Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 – establishes a broad environmental management regime in New Zealand’s territorial waters and applies to seismic surveying, cable laying, seabed mining, the construction and installation of oil and gas rigs and such possible future uses as deep sea aquaculture.
Emissions trading – New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) applies to all key sectors except agriculture. New Zealand was one of the first countries outside Europe to introduce a comprehensive emissions regime, but obligations on emitters have been softened since the scheme’s introduction, reflecting the current government’s position that New Zealand should do no more than its “fair share” in combatting climate change.
Resource management – the Resource Management Act 1991 is a well-established piece of environmental legislation, concerning the use of land, air and water in New Zealand. The Act is subject to on-going reform, following a series of major changes over the past three years.
Further details can be found in the full regulatory update.