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Mining Ban Dead In The Water

Opening up New Zealand to offshore wind farms means attempts to ban seabed mining are dead in the water, says Straterra CEO Josie Vidal.

Last week, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced the Government is seeking public feedback on the development of offshore renewable energy infrastructure, such as wind farms.

"Seabed mining is less invasive than a wind farm in terms of environmental impact, so if the Government is prepared to allow offshore wind farms, any suggestion of banning seabed mining should be dead in the water," Vidal says. "Debbie Ngarewa-Packer should withdraw her Prohibition on Seabed Mining Legislation Amendment Bill.

"Enabling investment in offshore renewable energy would be a positive step for New Zealand. It’s also great news for the mining sector as mining makes wind power generation possible - there are at least 17 mined minerals in a wind turbine, including Rare Earth Elements (REEs), vanadium, and other valuable minerals that could be mined in New Zealand, including from the seafloor.

"There are rich mineral resources around New Zealand, which should be taken account of when approving the location of future wind farms.

"Wind farms should not be allowed to encroach on sourcing the very minerals required to create a renewable energy future. That makes no sense, particularly when mining these minerals could pump billions of dollars and new jobs into our economy.

"New Zealand has potential to mine the critical minerals the world is demanding for the green technologies needed to pursue a low emissions future and to mitigate the impacts of climate change. This includes batteries that power the likes of electric vehicles, and many of the components used in solar and wind farms.

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"Recovery of those minerals is environmentally low-impact and temporary. Marine life and sea birds are less likely to be affected by seabed mining than offshore wind farms, and mining permits include a lot of rules around mitigating environmental impacts.

"New Zealand’s vast offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) contains significant mineral assets that have potential for our economy, our contribution to new energy sources and the global supply of critical minerals," Vidal says.

Straterra is the industry association representing New Zealand’s minerals and mining sector.

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