The Government is seeking public input on its policy of no new mines on conservation land.
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced on Saturday she and Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods would consult the mining sector, iwi, local government, environmental and community groups, and the wider public, through a discussion document to be released in September.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had earlier announced there would be no new mines on conversation land.
Ms Sage said public conservation lands and waters were protected as places where nature could thrive and for New Zealanders and visitors to enjoy.
“Mining generally degrades or destroys natural areas and the places that our unique birds, plants and insects live. It permanently changes natural features and landscapes and has significant water pollution risks.”
The document would canvas options for implementing the policy and actions flowing from the discussions, she said.
There were a range of mining activities occurring on public conservation land. They ranged from coal mines through to alluvial gold mines and gravel extraction.
The majority of mines were on the West Coast, Otago and Coromandel. There were also mines in Southland and Tasman. There were 113 approved mining operations on conservation land and 54 of those were active.
Ms Sage said in New Zealand, most mining, and all large-scale mining occurred off conservation land.
*Dene Mackenzie is political and business editor of the Otago Daily Times.