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“Pa", asked Josh, "I have to research, write and submit an article on whether New Zealand Government should allow more mining on conservation land, but I don’t know where to begin."
"You were an investor in Pike River Coal and New Zealand Oil and Gas, as well as in Australia’s BHP and Rio Tinto, Brazil’s Vale, China’s Shenhua, European Xtrata and ArcelorMittal before the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Can you give me some background so I know where to start?”
“Sure,” said Rosh, “Mining involves digging down in the Earth’s oceans or land, or even in space to search for and extract valuable commodities such as minerals, rare metals, and fossil fuels."
"Fossil fuels include mainly coal, oil and natural gas. Mining is as old as time. With time, our methods of mining and extraction have changed, and so have commodities that we mine for.”
“All modern appliances run on electricity that is generated in many countries through burning fossil fuels. To run a 100-watt light bulb 24 hours a day for a year we need to use about 325 kg of coal in a coal powered power plant."
"In his blog, Davor Habjanec says that thermal efficiency of such a power plant is typically about 40%. Most motorized vehicles run on fossil fuels, and all construction requires minerals and their derivatives. So we need mining.”
“Mining on conservation land has, however, become an emotive issue in New Zealand. Land classed as high value estate falls under the category of Schedule 4. The Crown Minerals Act states that restrictions apply to land under Schedule 4 as this land consists of national parks and nature reserves .”
“In 2010, the Government proposed to remove over 7,000 hectares of land from Schedule 4 of the Crown Minerals Act, including some areas in the Coromandel Peninsula and the Inangahua sector of Paparoa National Park."
"It was also mentioned that more than 400,000 hectares of other top conservation land, including parts of Northland, the Kaikoura Ranges, Dun Mountain east of Nelson, the Longwood area in Southland and Rakiura National Park on Stewart Island, will be studied over the next nine months for their mining potential."
“Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee and Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson also said that while the government was proposing removing approx 7,000 hectares from the 4.6 million hectares in Schedule 4, it was also proposing to add over 12,000 hectares –which was a net gain in protected areas of over 5,000 hectares.”
“An estimated 50,000 marchers joined one of the biggest protests in Auckland for decades on the 1st of May 2010 asking the Government to stay away from mining on conservation land."
"The government was forced to back down. It promised that no mining will be allowed on conservation estate. It decided not to remove any land from Schedule 4, but to pursue other opportunities for expanding mining on other public land.”
“Now it is important to understand that countries mine and drill so that they can get the commodities they need for their own growth. They also sell these natural resources to buy the foreign exchange they need to import things."
"Habjanec says that one of the biggest benefits of fossil fuels is their comparative low cost of production. Coal, oil and natural gas are abundant right now and relatively inexpensive to mine or drill for – which maximizes the profits from mining.”
“Coal mining is very common. There are different methods used to mine. Strip mining is when soil, rocks, etc. are removed from over the top of coal. This kind of mining destroys habitat and leaves big pits in the ground. Another popular way is underground mining through the use of tunnels."
"Over time, the mines get old and acid water can leak out and contaminate surrounding areas. Coal produces more carbon dioxide (which means more greenhouse gasses and pollution) than any other fossil fuel which leads to issues like global warming.”
“Since my portfolios were liquidated by my CFD (Contracts For Difference) provider I’ve been out of touch with investing, including not following the mining scene in New Zealand or abroad."
"If you can research recent developments and policies and report back to me, I’ll be happy to act as a sounding board for any ideas you’d like to discuss. Now let’s go back home, as recalling my portfolio liquidations has raised unnerving ghosts.”
Josh noticed Rosh’s hands shaking again, so he held his father’s hand as they turned back to walk home. They were silent the rest of the way, but Rosh didn’t notice. He was too far away battling the dark demons that surged inside his mind again.
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