In September, the Government introduced the Crown Minerals (Permitting and Crown Land) Bill, which aims to promote prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown owned minerals for the benefit of New Zealand.

The Bill had its first reading on 26 September 2012 and is currently being considered by the Commerce Select Committee.

The prospect of reforming the Crown Minerals Act 1991 was first raised in the Petroleum Action Plan released by the Government in November 2009. This Bill seeks to deliver on one of the key initiatives set out in the Action Plan intended to facilitate resources-led economic development.

The committee is due to report back on 30 January 2013. For further details, see Bell Gully's energy update entitled 'Crown Minerals Act reform is here'.