We can help you manage all aspects of your existing or proposed mining operation. This includes:
- Prospecting and Exploration
- Mining Permit Applications
- Minerals Permit Reporting
- Landowner Consultation
- Access Negotiations and Tribute Agreements
- Resource Consent Applications
- Affected Party Consultation
- Flora and Fauna Surveys
- Department of Conservation Access Arrangements and Concessions
- Ongoing Environmental Monitoring
- Compliance Reporting and Consent Authority Liaison
Prospecting and Exploration Permits allow you to undertake prospecting (hand sampling, gold panning, literature review) for gold or coal within the approved area or develop exploration programmes including drilling, bulk sampling or test pitting.
Typically you will need to submit a work programme outlining your proposed prospecting or exploration programmes and then follow up with a report at the completion of the work programme. Once this is complete you will be in a position to apply for a mining permit based on the results of this programme of prospecting or exploration.
A mining permit allows you to undertake full scale mining activities, be it for gold, coal or another mineral.
Mining Permit applications require evidence of a mineable resource as well as evidence that the applicant has the necessary skills and resources (financial and technical) to complete any proposed work programme of mining.
In recent times New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals have begun to tighten up on the reporting and permit compliance associated with minerals permits. It is important that if you currently hold a minerals permit that has conditions attached that you comply with these conditions or submit applications to change these conditions within the required timeframes to avoid the risk of you having permit revoked.
We can set up your reporting schedule and audit your existing permits to develop a compliance schedule and timeframe so you understand exactly what is required of you.
During the initial stages of a mining project it is important to consider the access requirements for your mining operation. Without access to the land covered by your mining permit no mining will be able to take place.
Typically mining occurs on either:
- Private land
- Crown Land – Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand
- Forestry Land
Each land status requires different processes to be undertaken to gain access. We can help you through these processes and undertaken consultation, negotiation and make the relevant applications for you.
Negotiating access is only one part of the process to commence mining on land not owned by you. Most land owners will require a "tribute" to be paid in lieu of minerals recovered. This is typically calculated as a percentage of recovered gold, coal or other minerals value on sale.
Each situation is different and there are different scenarios that arise and result in varying levels of tribute being agreed upon. Some crown agencies, local councils and forestry entities have set levels of royalties that are payable on access. We are aware of reasonable market rates and can help you in this negotiation process.
Open and clear communication between all parties is the starting point for access negotiations. By clearly explaining the proposed mining operation with landowners and stakeholders it will make for a smoother process from the outset.
While handshake agreements have their place in some agreements, it is recommended that any agreements are formalised and put in writing so all parties are aware of the ongoing obligations under any agreement.
Both Gold and Coal mining have a number of requirements for consenting from the outset. These include:
- Land use – a consent to disturb the land through mining activities
- Water take – most mining operations require a permit to take water for processing or washing of materials.
- Discharge – coupled with a water take is the need for mining operations to discharge treated process water or contaminated stormwater from site.
- Diversions – some mining activities will require diversions of water ways to facilitate the mining of ground.
Other consents may be required for specific areas including vegetation clearance, tracking or roading, building consents and others.
A comprehensive assessment of consenting requirements will be completed prior to any resource consent applications being developed or lodged with consent authorities.
While on the surface a minor oversight of the required consents may not seem to be a big deal, it can seriously impact on your ability to commence mining activities. It is important that your site and proposed mining operation is properly assessed before you lodge consents to ensure all eventualities have been covered.
Typically after resource consents are lodged with the consent authority, they will make an assessment of who they consider to be affected by a proposed activity. This may include immediately adjoining neighbours, downstream land owners, statutory bodies (Department of Conservation, Fish & Game), local iwi or government departments including NZTA. Without affected party approval your application may be required to proceed to limited or public notification. These processes could result in a hearing being required adding additional costs to your project.
If possible it is always best to consult with likely affected parties before consents are lodged to avoid un-necessary delays in the consent process. It is also important that if you have a neighbour or affected party that is unlikely to sign off on your proposed activity to deal with this by requesting limited notification to ensure delays in processing are minimised. A timely decision on this process is necessary to stay ahead of developments. We can help you with this.
There is no obligation to consult neighbours or affected parties under the Resource Management Act (1991) but it may help to avoid processing delays in some instances.
If your mining operation requires you to remove areas of native vegetation and local rules require a flora and fauna assessment is required to assess the likely effects of this vegetation removal on habitat and native plant and bird life. These assessments typically involve the development of a survey area, including randomly selected points and areas for assessments to be completed. A standardised technique of 5 Minute Bird Counts are also completed to provide an insight into existing bird life within the application area.
This assessment is also useful when completing a DOC access arrangement or concession as it allows a comprehensive assessment of the existing natural environment to be provided to the Department allowing for a faster processing timeframe.
There are two DOC processes that may be required as part of your mining operation if it is set to occur on DOC land:
An access arrangement is required from the Department if physical mining activities are to be carried out within a Prospecting, Exploration or Mining Permit on DOC administered land. Each activity may be classified, as Minimum or Non Minimum Impact activities depending on the size and scale of proposed activities.
There are two layers to this process with the Access Arrangement being the overarching document that governs the mining activities and the subsequent Authority to Enter and Operate that will be issued by the Department on provision of an Annual Work Programme and payment of required fees.
A concession may be required from the Department if mining related activities (not physical mining) are to occur outside of the minerals permit area but still on DOC land. This may include easements for access, conveying of water, construction of settling ponds and stockpiling of overburden.
There are different processes that are involved in the concession process depending on the size and scale of proposed works.
Once you have a resource consent granted, it is not the end of your responsibilities or involvement with Councils. Most resource consents require some form of ongoing monitoring whether it is water sampling in your first milking season after granting or regular compliance visits as part of your mining activities.
It is important that you comply with the conditions of your resource consent to ensure you are not subject to enforcement action from the consent authority. It is also useful to develop a history of compliance with the Council to ensure a good reputation.
We are realistic and understand mining and dairy farming doesn't run smoothly all the time and whether is a natural event, human error or a combination of a number of factors, incidents happen and compliance may not be achieved at all times. It is however important to ensure you have systems in place to reduce the likelihood of problems occurring.
Should non compliances be identified these need to be addressed at the source as soon as possible. Staying on top of regular monitoring will help you and your staff understand the conditions and requirements of your resource consent and ensure things are compliant when Council staff visit.
Without a formal or informal monitoring programme you are leaving compliance up to chance when Council visits. This may result in surprises during these inspections and the chance of non compliance being reported against your operation. This will form part of your history and stay on the consent file for as long as you are operating.
With ongoing monitoring required by resource consent conditions, it is also likely to be required that you submit the results for these to the consent authority on a regular basis. During this process you will need to ensure that the relevant information is provided to Council in the expected timeframes.
Failure to supply reports means you are not complying with your resource consent or conditions and could open you up to enforcement action from the Council.
We can set up your monitoring programme and reporting systems to ensure that you submit your water sampling, water take or gravel extraction information to Council in a timely manner.
Dealing with Council staff can sometimes be tiresome and frustrating. It can also be a source of conflict if they do not appreciate the complexities associated with your operation of if you are struggling to understand why they are taking the action they are, or are constantly visiting your site for no apparent reason.
Phil's background is in consents and compliance and can offer a liaison service where any compliance inspections are completed with Phil on site as the main point of contact and can address any compliance issues in a timely and effective manner. It is important that all parties maintain a level of professionalism to ensure that all monitoring is fact based rather than based on emotion to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
For further information, contact us today.