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Group Looks For Overseas Investment In Minerals

NEWS RELEASE, 29 FEBRUARY 2000

GROUP LOOKS FOR OVERSEAS INVESTMENT IN MINERALS

Most people would be surprised to learn that New Zealand is a mineral-rich country, minerals geologist Tony Christie said today.

On a per hectare basis, New Zealand has as many economic minerals as any country in the world, said Dr Christie of the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS).

" Most of New Zealand's minerals remain undeveloped because exploration has been at a low level for many years," said Dr Christie who will this week represent New Zealand at one of the world's biggest mining conferences.

An inventory of mineral resources, recently prepared by GNS, concludes that New Zealand could double mineral production from $1 billion a year to $2 billion by the year 2010 given the right legislative and investment climate.

Overseas capital is needed to achieve an increase in production because of the high cost and high-risk nature of mineral exploration.

Attracting overseas investment is one of the main objectives of a group of industry and government representatives, including Dr Christie, who are this week attending the 68th annual conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada where about 8000 delegates from 70 countries are expected to attend.

" New Zealand's large resources of non-metallic minerals, although not well quantified, could support increased production for export. And we have estimated New Zealand's undeveloped metallic minerals to have a total worth of about $NZ86 billion."

Given the technologies available, and the advances in environmental monitoring and rehabilitation, an increase in mining activity would deliver additional wealth to local communities with minimal effect on the environment, Dr Christie said.

END

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