New Zealand Opens First Tender for Platinum Exploration

New Zealand opened its first tender for platinum mining licenses as it seeks to diversify its commodity exports.

Interested companies have until April 30 to lodge bids for platinum exploration at five sites on the South Island, New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, a unit of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, said in a statement today. After the bids are assessed, permits will be granted in August 2014 for a period of five years, and may be extended for up to a further five years, it said.

“Only the best applications and applicants capable of delivering safe and environmentally responsible exploration activities will be granted exploration permits,” NZPAM said.

The tender is part of a wider government initiative to encourage mineral exploration in New Zealand and develop new exports. A tender for epithermal gold exploration over part of the central volcanic zone on the country’s North Island was opened last month.

There is currently no exploration or production of platinum in New Zealand.

“It is only speculative to say how much platinum could be found in New Zealand and the value of any finds,” NZPAM said. “However, it would be safe to say that the discovery potential across the tender areas for platinum and other precious metals is significant.”

The minerals sector contributes NZ$20 million ($17 million) in royalties each year to the government and over NZ$1.1 billion to the economy, NZPAM said.

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