Mineral resources potential
New Zealand has extensive mineral resources covering many different commodities.
NZ is prospective for a wide range of minerals, including coal, gold, silver, and titanomagnetite ironsand. A number of other industrial rocks and minerals are produced for local and export markets - including bentonite, various clays, diatomite, perlite, pumice, serpentine, silica and zeolite.
There are approximately 1,000 mineral exploration and mining permits across the country including more than 20 permits for larger scale mining operations extracting coal, gold and aggregates. The vast majority of permits however are for smaller-sized operations.
The Mineral Resources Guide introduces the major commercial minerals in New Zealand.
Minerals commodity reports and coal resources
New Zealand has extensive mineral resources covering many different commodities. The Commodity Reports provide background on a variety of minerals, their uses, and where they have been found in this country.
New Zealand has extensive coal resources, mainly in the Waikato and Taranaki regions of the North Island and the West Coast, Otago and Southland regions of the South Island. It has been estimated that national in-ground resources of all coals are over 15 billion tonnes, of which 80 percent are South Island lignites.
Lignite is New Zealand’s largest fossil fuel energy resource. The main deposits are well known, with technically and economically recoverable quantities in the 10 largest deposits established at over six billion tonnes.
There are 22 active coal mines in New Zealand, 17 of which are producing.
Coal production in 2013 was 4.6 million tonnes, of which 2.1 million tonnes were exported. The corresponding figures for 2012 were 4.9 and 2.2 million tonnes. Production is centered in the Waikato (1.4 million tonnes, mainly for NZ Steel and the Huntly power station) and on the West Coast (2.5 million tonnes, mainly for export).
Some 65% of national production is from two large opencast mines, at Rotowaro in the Waikato and Stockton on the West Coast, Solid Energy produces 85% of the country’s coal.
More information about coal production, reserves and consumption is available on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website.
Minerals Exploration Data Pack
The Minerals Exploration Data Pack contains a broad representation of publicly available data on a portable hard drive. It features a large selection of data, interpretation projects, reports and studies and is updated annually.