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Mining – a third way?

Written By: - Date published: 6:39 pm, March 28th, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: Environment, Mining - Tags:

As always Rod Oram offers a considered approach to issues of the day. In today’s Sunday Star Times he offers his analytical skills to mining, saying:

New Zealand has three responses: We could tell the world we won’t mine. Dig up your own country, sell us the products you make from your minerals and we’ll make money from you holidaying in this “untouched” paradise. But this hypocrisy would make us deeply unpopular. We could mine lots and badly. But this would damage our land, economy and reputation.

We could be leaders in environmentally responsible mining, the science around it and the high-value downstream products and services flowing from it. Then we could prove that the economy and environment, treated well, can enhance each other.

But in our usual fashion as a nation, we are once again failing to seek a robust, long-term solution. Rather than working to achieve the best but hardest solution option three we’re bashing each other’s brains out. Once again we’ll end up with a fatally flawed stalemate on an issue vital to the wellbeing of the nation.

I can only hope that such considerations will be taken into account when the government considers the submissions on their discussion document. Perhaps we can achieve something positive after all….

14 comments on “Mining – a third way? ”

  1. Nick C 1

    I think a compromise of enviromentally friendly mining is far closer to what National supports than to what Labour supports.

    • lprent 1.1

      The problem is that National via Brownlee is attempting to push the ‘debate’ with bullshit information. That makes many of us immediately kick against his style of paternalistic crap.

      I’m afraid that the Nats have already lost this ‘debate’ through stupidity.

    • Really?

      Labour supported mining and allowed mining in the conservation area, rather than the schedule 4 area. National just wants to drill baby drill.

      So on what basis do you say that “a compromise of enviromentally friendly mining is far closer to what National supports than to what Labour supports”?

    • Marty G 1.3

      Oram’s piece is falsely premised. This debate isn’t about whether we should mine at all, it’s about whehter we should mine on land that has been specifically set aside from mining because of its natural value.

      there’s no need for any mining on schedule 4 land.

      more environmentally responsible mining, sure. But that precludes mining on schedule 4

  2. RedLogix 2

    Rod Oram as usual hits the nail on the head. His argument is well-reasoned and sound.

    Trouble is that with a Nat govt at the helm; this is the sort of thing you tend to end up with.

    Slashed funding for DOC, an obvious agenda to dismantle Regional Councils (the only entities with a legal mandate to manage the environment on non-Conservation estate), a total joke of an ETS, etc… all point to a govt whose real intentions in this respect are pretty much 180deg the opposite of their spin.

  3. Jum 3

    I’ve always had a lot of respect for Rod Oram’s opinion.

    Labour has already said it has nothing against mining but not in Schedule 4. We have miners wanting to mine. We have a large unemployed thanks mostly to planned NAct inactivity during a recession that moneytrader Key knew would happen but deliberately postponed help for in order to lower wages. (It amazes me that so many voters never got that).

    New Zealand has already mined in the past. Problem is we gained little from it. Either we own the mining companies and the Greens call the shots or we don’t. The Greens will either find a solution for the little rare earth greeblies that are needed to run the wind power, etc or they will invent a new earth policy with Labour, or they will accept mining in the other multitudinous hectares of New Zealand land not in the Conservation Park.

    Rod Oram must know by now that, like the criminal mind, the NAct mind is hardwired to see only gold that delivers profits to a few, not LabourGreensGold. It is very dangerous to show NAct any sort of support even if it supposedly takes several years to get their cyanide drilling under way.

    Labour/Greens in government gives fair warning it will reverse any mining agreement signed by NActMU and the foreign mining vultures on Schedule 4.

    I do take issue with the accusation of ‘hypocrisy’ however. Take Auckland believing Great Barrier is their playground and globalise it. The obvious answer is New Zealand, unspoilt, that people can escape to from the giant mess they’ve made of theirs. Do we follow them into the cyanide pit or do we offer them a playground? We’re a small country and we probably can’t do everything.

    The delightful Rod Oram needs to be very cynical about this government’s submission process. It’s a joke. Ask any person who fronted up with a submission on Auckland City bills. It’s a foregone conclusion.

    We don’t need to rubberstamp it.
    Sorry Rod.

  4. Zak Creedo 4

    There is a striking lack of good example/s for mining in this whole debate.. okay, Rod Oram has struck upon a third way.. intelligent mining.. but where is the example.. ?

    Well, and consequent on a fellow commenter over at frogblog a couple of weeks back, who revealed that offshore seamounts can and do become ocean foci to large wave movements. [Yep, the talk had been about tsunami following Chile’s big quake this year.] Apparently these foci cause oceanic flows to revolve around them and such intensifying forces serve up greater coastal erosion in that process.

    Now my simple suggestion – yeah it could amount to too simple because I’m no submarine expert or anything – is to examine possibilities of both mining and removing said seamounts so as to take value from their extractables and material, as well as deliver more secure coastal stability etc.

    Just a thought… tho if a goer accrual royalties could adequately compensate blogging hubs and their many intelligent as well as imaginative commenter around the place.. along with all taxpayers ebnefiting from government facilitation.

    See, Gerry, it aint hard. Now for the will and the way…

    • Marty G 4.1

      if you destroy seamounts you destroy the unique ecosystems that thrive on them and the fisheries they support.

  5. burt 5

    With the Nat’s at the helm we are having this debate. Who knew there were 218 permits issued over DOC land in the 9 years Labour were driving?

    When the recently visiting Clark had her unthinkable moment about mining in National Parks did she forget that her govt issued a mining permit in a National Park or was she just hoping we all had?

    • Marty G 5.1

      don’t be an idiot burt.

      This debate is about whether we should allow mining on land that has been explicitly protected from mining by putting it in Schedule 4 of the Conservation Act.

      Labour never issued permits for mining in that land.

      It is not about opposing mining everywhere.

      • mcflock 5.1.1

        jesus, now it’s 218 . . . I’m assuming 218 permits, of which 82 mines were produced.

        Besides the fact that none of those 218 were for schedule 4 land, does ANYONE know how many hectares they involved? At the moment people are comparing permits (lab) with hectares (nat plan).

        • Richard 5.1.1.1

          The number of permits is not important, and the number of hectares isn’t important either. What is important is where those hectares are.

          National is proposing hectares in Schedule 4 land, which is land in which the conservation values are deemed to be too important to allow any mining*.

          Labour only approved mines in areas where mining was allowed under law.

          * actually, except for a number of minor exceptions. For example, you can get permits to construct tiny mines on Schedule 4 Land as part of a re-enactment of historical methods. And you can also dig holes in Schedule 4 land, if it is needed to do something like rescue miners trapped in mines adjacent to Schedule 4 land (but only if it is a small hole).

  6. BLiP 6

    Dig up your own country, sell us the products you make from your minerals and we’ll make money from you holidaying in this “untouched’ paradise. But this hypocrisy would make us deeply unpopular.

    Why is this hypocrisy?

  7. BLiP 7

    New Zealand’s environment would profit from mining national parks, Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says.

    What’s wrong with this statement?

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