Minerals potential revealed by study

New Zealand’s strategic mineral potential has been greatly enhanced by a GNS Science study which has highlighted areas of interest across parts of the country, says Energy and Resource Minister Megan Woods.

The results of the Mineral Potential Studies into lithium, rare earth elements (REE) and nickel-cobalt were released today at the Minerals Forum in Queenstown.

“There is sky-rocketing demand around the world for minerals which are used in clean-tech and which can aid our transition to a low carbon economy. That demand represents a real economic opportunity for New Zealand.

“Innovative techniques have been used to create three maps of potential prospectivity using a range of geochemistry, geophysics, rock analyses and cutting-edge data interpretation methods and they are the first of their kind to be produced in New Zealand. The study has identified areas of potential while also ruling out other areas,” says Minister Woods.

“The MBIE-commissioned study has revealed lithium potential in the central North Island and the Hohonu Range on the West Coast of the South Island, nickel-cobalt potential in Nelson-Tasman-Marlborough and Southland regions while REE potential exists on the West Coast.

“There remains work to be done, but we now have a sound base to inform decisions on these strategic minerals which are widely used for energy storage in electric vehicles and other low emission technologies.

“The better picture we have of what exists, the better placed we will be to be in a position to potentially capitalise on demand for the scarce minerals which has surged in recent years.”