Media Release – for immediate release
22 October 2009
Parliamentary Commissioner praises miners
Straterra, the organisation representing the natural resources industry, has welcomed Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s praise for modern mining techniques in New Zealand.
In her overview of a new independent report on Stockton Mine Dr Wright said that Solid Energy now has a well established and comprehensive environmental management system to manage the impacts of its mining operations on the surrounding environment and that this is showing improved outcomes in local streams and rivers.
Straterra chief executive Richard Michael said the report highlighted the advances the natural resources industry has made in terms of environmental performance.
“Today’s industry prides itself on that and welcomes the fact that Dr Wright has not identified any bad practice in today’s mining industry and has praised its performance,” said Mr Michael.
“The industry is happy to stand up to any examination and committed to being part of any processes that will ensure that environmental abuses do not occur.”
Dr Wright raised concerns in her overview about the level of environmental protection for sites granted mining licences before the 1991 Resource Management Act came into force.
“It is right that the Parliamentary Commissioner should be vigilant and be looking at all industry in New Zealand to ensure high environmental standards,” said Mr Michael.
“Although not as stringent as the modern regime, these older licences still have reasonably strict environmental conditions in place. The requirement for ministerial consent to be granted before licences can be sold on provides checks and balances in proposed changes of ownership.
“The licences are also subject to bond regimes which means that, in the event of company failure, there is provision to reclaim some funds towards any clean up costs.
“We were not previously aware of the commissioner’s concerns about the licences and would be very happy to have discussions with her on the issue.”
Straterra, which was launched in September 2008, aims to provide a united voice for companies working in the oil, gas, aggregates, minerals, metals and coal industries. The sector has annual revenues exceeding four billion dollars and exports of around two billion dollars. Independent studies demonstrate the potential to double these revenues and provide much needed employment in the New Zealand economy.