The New Zealand Government has revealed plans to explore for platinum in land around Nelson and the upper West Coast.
The area includes the Pelorus River in the Richmond Ranges, where the barrel scene for The Hobbit was shot. It also includes many ecological sites, although National Parks and World Heritage Areas have been excluded.
Councils and iwi have until August 1st 2013 to respond to the plans.
Royal Forest & Bird Society top of the south field officer Debs Martin told Stuff.co.nz that the proposal was “very broad brush“, with people’s homes and whole townships being included. She hoped some areas would be taken off the table after consultation.
NZ Petroleum and Minerals national manager of minerals, Sefton Darby, said consultation would refine the potential exploration areas.
“The borders or boundaries of it are certainly not set at this stage.”
However he could not estimate the benefits of mining platinum in the South Island, as it was “so incredibly hypothetical” at such an early stage.
New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals general manager David Binnie said,
“Platinum is an exciting commodity offering good potential for exploration and investment in New Zealand.”
Competitive tender to explore for platinum will open in September 2013 and run until March 2014, with permits being offered in June.