A Canadian-owned platinum exploration company has been
awarded five, five-year South Island permits, including two
covering 168sq km northwest of Invercargill.
The Longwood Range near Invercargill has for decades been of
interest to miners, mainly for its platinum potential but
also for gold. Platinum work has never gone beyond
Lynx, the only tenderer announced, has three permits covering
355sq km near Murchison and the permits near Invercargill and
intends initially spending about $3 million over the first
three years in exploration, and potentially a further $4.5
million in the following two years, Energy and Resources
Minister Simon Bridges said in a statement yesterday.
The Government had opened the platinum block tender round in
March last year. It closed in April after consultation with
iwi, local councils and the Department of Conservation (Doc).
''These permits present an exciting opportunity for the
Tasman and Southland regions, and constitute the most
significant new minerals exploration activity in New Zealand
by one company in several years,'' Mr Bridges said.
Platinum, which on the global market was selling for $US1476
($NZ1716) an ounce yesterday, has only once been been mined
commercially, from 1897-1907 in Orepuki in Southland, and
produced 47kg. About 80,000 ounces of gold was taken near
Longwood in the late 1800s.
Government permit agency New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals
has identified the Longwood Range as being the ''most
prospective'' area for platinum group metals, which include
palladium and iridium.
The tender process included assessment of Lynx's financial
and technical capability, and its ability to meet health,
safety and environmental requirements, Mr Bridges said.
Access must be negotiated with land owners and mitigating
environmental impacts be agreed with Doc. Lynx has to comply
with local council requirements under the Resource Management
Act and seek a mining permit.
Lynx Platinum is a wholly owned subsidiary of Coronado
Resources Ltd, a Canadian exploration and development, power
generation and retailing company.
Tag Oil Ltd, a Canadian petroleum operator, has oil and gas
wells in Taranaki and a 49% stake in Coronado.