Mining giant sets sights on NZ, including conservation land

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is looking to expand his mining interests in New Zealand, including on conservation land.

His company Mineralogy already has 10 permits to prospect and explore for minerals and another eight applications are under consideration.

If approved, Mineralogy would have the biggest footprint for prospecting and exploration at 306,074 hectares and the biggest overlap on conservation land at 93,429 hectares, according to data from MBIE.

DOC has granted Mineralogy access to work in five areas on conservation land, including near Lake Brunner on the West Coast.

Prospecting and exploration are the stages before mining, which can take many more years to set up.

Prospecting can involve aerial surveys and geologists taking samples using hand tools. Exploration can be more intensive with the use of excavators and drills.

The Green Party is concerned and has singled out Clive Palmer in a petition urging the Government to act on its 2017 promise to stop new mines on conservation land.

“When you’ve got a big well-resourced company like Mineralogy that’s got access to offshore capital, there’s a very real risk of significant mining operations and damage to public conservation land,” said Green’s conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

Clive Palmer has been dubbed “Australia’s Trump” - a businessman turned politician with form for litigation.

A business journalist Tim Treadgold once called him a human bulldozer.

“He will steam through and achieve what he wants to, but if he gets his result he can be very generous.”

Palmer has made billions mining iron ore, coal and nickel in Australia.

The mining industry here said he’s a convenient “Disney villain caricature” for the Greens to target.

“I have no idea whether Clive Palmer is a good man or a bad man, how pleasant he is to children, puppies or otherwise. But New Zealand benefits I think from foreign investment coming into the country because that allows us to have higher pay and higher productivity jobs,” said Patrick Phelps from Minerals West Coast, a group representing the region’s miners.

Mineraology is looking for metals, non-metals, rare earth elements and lithium, which is used in rechargeable batteries.


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