While the U.S. Government continues to talk about critical minerals access and the dangers of foreign dependency, New Zealand’s government is taking action.
According to MiningNe.ws, the New Zealand government is “looking at ways of speeding up approvals for big mining projects because endless court action is “frustrating” companies and costing them millions.”
Here are the key points from the MiningNe.ws piece:
· Aside from looking into new legislation allowing for the acceleration of granting resource consents for “regionally significant” projects, the Ministry for the Environment seeks to limit ways by which appeals can be mounted against such consents.
· The current legal framework allows for repeated appeals against approval for projects, and has been a source of frustration for the oil and gas industry, property developers, or groups wanting to build wind farms.
· Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley argues that New Zealand has “a court system where people can continue to oppose, and what we’re saying is, maybe we need to bring in a consenting system where … you have a first chance, last chance in court, it’s only appealable on point of law, and then the answer is either yes or no, and you can get on with it.”
· A sought-after change would emulate the “national consenting process,” which, while allowing for public hearings, provides for fast-tracking of projects with strict time limits.
Meanwhile, on this side of the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is engaging in efforts to not only prolong, but derail mining projects even before any permit requests have been filed.
For a country that already has the dubious honor of having the lengthiest permitting process among mining nations according to the renowned Behre-Dolbear “Where Not to Invest” ranking, this is an approach that will have a “chilling effect on domestic resource development, which will impact our national security, manufacturing competiveness, and ability to innovate,” as American Resources principal Daniel McGroarty has pointed out.