A team of experienced geoscientists from GNS Science produced a paper at the AusIMM NZ Mining Conference to show why and where a quest is underway to locate metals for clean technology in New Zealand.
The paper presented by Regine Morgenstern, also had as co-authors Rose Turnbull, Matt Hill, Patti Durance, Mark Rattenbury, Rob Smillie and an association with New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals (NZP&M).
The concept has the eye of the new Government, as Energy & Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods made a point of citing some of the “battery minerals” now being explored for and found in Australia and elsewhere at a recent Queenstown conference.
The GNS presentation said rare earth elements (REE), lithium and cobalt were poorly understood and there was a need to understand all of the country’s mineral wealth so as to adapt to future supply and demand constraints on low-carbon technologies.
Morgenstern said GNS Science and NZP&M were looking at the scope in NZ for REE, lithium and nickel-cobalt mineralisation.
The presentation said that REE deposits in NZ may be found in carbonatites, alkaline igneous intrusions and placer deposits. There was also laterites and seafloor deposit potential.
One target area could be the West Coast beach sands and palaeoplacers, and in the Alpine Dike Swarm carbonates, like those around Haast.
At this stage there were no known occurrences of lithium-rich minerals but they may exist in pegmatites and hydrothermally altered clays. Targets could include Lyell Range and Hononu Range on the West Coast, the east coast of the Coromandel, Taupo and Bay of Plenty, Stewart Island and the Mt Somers volcanics in Canterbury.
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