28, Aug, 2009

End Privileged Status for Miners on conservation land

Category: ECO Inc

It is time the Government ended the special status for mineral activity on conservation land, the Environment and Conservation Organisations said today.

ECO spokesperson, Barry Weeber, said miners had a privileged status over other activity on conservation land and that needed to end.

“Contrary to the statements of the Minister of Energy, Gerry Brownlee, mineral activity is not having a rough deal as mining has a special status and is not subject to the usual provisions that apply to other activity on Conservation land.”

“While tourism activity, hut building, and roading is subject to the concessions provisions of the Conservation Act, which includes environmental impact assessment and public processes, miners gain access under the secretive provisions of the Crown Minerals Act.

Mr Weeber said the only real safeguards are the prohibitions on surface activity under the fourth schedule of the Crown Minerals Act.

“These provisions apply to only some of the categories of extremely important conservation land, including national parks.”

Mr Weeber said these provisions do not prevent mining in conservation parks, marine mammal sanctuaries, or in world heritage areas. “The international community would be appalled at the limited nature of these provisions.”

For further information, contact Barry Weeber 07-864-9460 or 021-738-807, or Cath Wallace on 021-891-994.


  1. ECO – the Environment and Conservation Organisations was established in 1972 and represents 67 groups with a concern for the environment.
  2. The Fourth Schedule of the Crown Minerals Act came into force in 1997 under section 3 Crown Minerals Amendment Act (No 2) 1997. It prohibits mineral activity on conservation land gazetted as national parks, nature reserves, scientific reserves, wilderness areas, marine reserves, ecological areas (but not on the West Coast of the South Island), forest sanctuaries, wildlife sanctuaries, wetlands of international importance, and the Coromandel Peninsula, Hauraki Gulf, and associated offshore islands.
  3. The Fourth Schedule does not exclude mining from World Heritage Areas, ecological areas, marine mammal sanctuaries. This schedule does not prevent miners operating mines under, for example national parks, or clearing native vegetation for service or emergency adits.
  4. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, a governmental and non-governmental body, has called on all countries to stop mining on category I to IV protected areas which applies to nearly all conservation land.