Government introduces changes to mining Act with stronger environmental focus

Energy and Resources
  • Crown Minerals Act will no longer actively “promote” prospecting, exploration, and mining of Crown-owned minerals
  • Will create more certainty around engagement between industry, iwi and hapū.

The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources, says Energy and Resource Minister Dr Megan Woods.

“Requirements in the CMA for the Government to actively promote fossil fuel exploration are out of date. It’s time we changed our laws so that they are consistent with our climate change commitments to phase out polluting fossil fuels and transition to net zero by 2050,” Megan Woods said.

“The National Government added the legislative requirement to promote mining activities in 2013, but this is now out of step with the direction the world is going.

“The CMA sets out how the Government allocates rights to mine Crown owned minerals for New Zealand’s economic benefit. While this role won’t change, these amendments will bring the Act up to date, allow us to respond to the evolving needs of Aotearoa, and give the sector greater certainty about the future of minerals decision making. Fossil fuels will be phased out in a way that ensures energy remains secure, reliable, accessible, and affordable for all New Zealanders.

“The Bill also proposes changes to strengthen engagement between permit holders, iwi and hapū to ensure Māori cultural interests in minerals and mining activities are understood and respected. The proposals mean the CMA would be amended to explicitly provide hapū and iwi opportunities to review and discuss annual iwi engagement reports, and to enable regulations to specify minimum content requirements for those reports,” said Megan Woods.