Mining company Newmont Gold must pay royalties on the Crown-owned gold it extracts from its Martha mine in Waihi, the Green Party said today.
“It is disappointing that Energy Minister Phil Heatley won’t use the Review of New Zealand Minerals Royalty Rates to ensure that royalties are paid on all mines in New Zealand,” said Green Party mining spokesperson Catherine Delahunty.
In response to Green Party questions in the House today, Minister of Energy Phil Heatley confirmed that the review would look at changing the royalty rates for new permits, but not for permits that have already been awarded. Newmont Gold has not paid any royalties on its Martha mine in Waihi since 1987.
“It’s not fair that this mine has not paid any royalties for 25 years,” said Ms Delahunty.
“The Minister has always had the power to intervene and require Newmont Gold to pay the Government for the New Zealand gold it digs up at its Waihi operations, but sadly he has sat on his hands.
“Now Minister Heatley has turned down the opportunity to use the Royalties Review to address the ridiculous anomaly that Newmont Gold pays no royalties.
“However, Heatley said he would introduce royalties if the Martha mine were to expand.
“This outcome would put an end to the highway robbery Newmont Gold has gotten away with for years, although it is far from the ideal situation of creating an economy without destructive mining practices.”
Ms Delahunty said that residents living near the Martha mine experienced excessive noise, dust, loss of property values, and mental and physical health problems associated with mining operations.
“Ideally we wouldn’t need to expand the Martha mine because we had instead invested in clean, green technology and sustainable jobs,” said Ms Delahunty.
“New Zealand can move away from the Government’s short-sighted mining agenda and towards a clean, green economy that works for everyone.”