Minerals

Otago has a rich and longstanding history shaped by minerals. Most people readily identify with gold mining in the region. Even today, the province has a wealth and variety of minerals which are vital to today's society and will continue to be in future.

Development in the region is progressing at an ever-increasing rate. This development accelerates the need for additional minerals, in particular aggregates. It potentially puts at risk the future availability of some resources.

Therefore, strategic planning is needed to ensure future accessibility of minerals is not compromised by development.

On this page

Mineral resources
Protecting the environment from mining
Effects of mining
Future of minerals

Mineral resources

Mineral resources in Otago include:

  • Coal - estimated value of $34 billion
  • Gold - estimated value of $6 billion
  • Tungsten
  • Copper
  • Bulk rocks - aggregate and building stone
  • Industrial minerals - limestone, clay, diatomite, phosphate, silica, phosphate

Otago produces $32 million worth of bulk industrial minerals a year..

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Protecting the environment from mining

Access to minerals is essential for modern living, be it for construction, transport, energy or industry.  As the population grows, so does the demand for minerals, and this growth is at a greater rate than the population increase.  We are using more minerals; aggregate for concrete, chip for tar sealing roads, coal for heating, rocks for landscaping and gold for jewellery, dentistry and plating.

Regional and district plans recognise the importance of minerals for community wellbeing and make provision for the exploration, prospecting and extraction of minerals.

Download the "Managing mineral use and development in Otago" presentation (42 KB)

Presentation made by Fraser McRae, Director Policy and Resource Planning, ORC (Planning for Minerals in Otago Workshop).

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Effects of mining

The key effects of mining are:

  • Dust
  • Noise
  • Vibration
  • Traffic
  • Visual impact.

These effects are controlled in district plans. Conditions can be applied to mining activities to remedy or mitigate most effects except for vibration.

Conditions can include:

  • Setbacks
  • Watering
  • Timing
  • Roading
  • Screening.

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Future of minerals

As a result of the Planning for Minerals in Otago Workshop, held in Cromwell recently, the Otago Regional Council will look into how best to:

  • Carry out a regional aerial geophysical survey,
  • Set up a team to draft contents for the Council's policy statements and plans, and cooperate to make the community more aware that its wellbeing relies on minerals.

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Read more about minerals

Read about the Planning for Minerals in Otago Workshop
Look at the Otago Geology Map

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