Minerals and petroleum regulatory environment

Getting a permit is just one of the things you need to do to start mining. Different New Zealand agencies and stakeholders manage the different regulations and approvals that affect mining operators in New Zealand.

Minerals and petroleum activities in New Zealand are regulated by separate pieces of legislation and government agencies.

The separation in the statutory framework between powers and functions was designed to ensure independence, transparency and accountability, and to minimise potential conflict between the Crown’s dual roles as resource owner and regulator.

This regulatory environment provides checks and balances to regulate the petroleum and minerals sectors.

Permits under the Crown Minerals Act

Being granted a permit under the Crown Minerals Act (CMA) is just one of the steps operators need to take to be able to mine Crown-owned minerals in New Zealand. We issue these permits and make sure permit holders are complying with the conditions on their permits.

Getting a permit

Getting a permit is necessary, but not sufficient, to be able to begin mining.

The operator needs to make sure they also:

  • have the environmental consents needed
  • meet all health and safety requirements, and
  • have access to the land covered by the permit.

Environmental consents

Environmental consents consider the social, cultural, environmental and economic effects of proposed activities.

If mining is onshore or within 12 nautical miles of the coast, a resource consent is required from local authorities under the Resource Management Act (RMA) for exploration and mining-related activities.

Local government in New Zealand

Council maps and websites

If mining is more than 12 nautical miles from the coastline, a marine consent is required from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (EEZ) Act.

Environmental Protection Authority – EEZ marine activities

Health and safety

The Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) 2015 governs the health and safety of the workers involved in the industry. Any prospecting, exploration or mining activity must comply with HSWA. WorkSafe New Zealand regulates workplace health and safety.

WorkSafe New Zealand

Land access

Having a permit doesn’t provide the permit holder with automatic access to the land. An access arrangement with the land owner is usually required. The land owner may be a private land owner or it may be Crown-owned land. If it is Crown-owned the access arrangement is usually with the Department of Conservation, Land Information NZ and/or MBIE.

For more information see our Land Access factsheet [PDF 713KB]

Department of Conservation

Land Information New Zealand

Last updated:
Find this helpful? Give us your feedback