The NZ Herald editorial:
Environmentalists say mining activity would be offputting to tourists lured to this country by the promise of a pristine landscape. But two factors undermine that argument. First, the sum of land in public ownership is so large – it occupies about a third of the country – that more than enough would be left over if mining were to occupy a tiny portion. And not all the land thought likely to harbour significant deposits of zinc, lead, copper, nickel and tin has high conservation value. Second, good modern mining practice pays due heed to the environment. The days of open-cast eyesores have been consigned to history.
On a per capita basis, New Zealand undoubtedly has a valuable mineral resource. The royalties from this can play a far greater role in economic growth.
The regions where mining takes place would receive a particular fillip. For every suspicious Coromandel resident, there will be those on the West Coast of the South Island eager to grasp the opportunity. Balance, not blinkered thinking, offers the way forward. Companies prepared to bring a responsible approach to mining carefully selected parts of the Department of Conservation estate should be welcomed to this country.
I’m told the Pike River Mine (on DOC land) takes up only 10 hectares above ground. That represents around one millionth of the conservation estate.