Review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991

The Government is carrying out a review of the Crown Minerals Act 1991.

This is to ensure the Act’s settings contribute to mining that responsibly balances environmental, social, and economic considerations and meets the evolving needs of New Zealand’s society.

The review is one of the actions the Government is undertaking to realise the vision in the 10-year Resource Strategy of a world-leading environmentally and socially responsible minerals and petroleum sector that delivers affordable and secure resources, for the benefit of current and future New Zealanders.

Minerals and petroleum resource strategy

Public consultation on a discussion document, exploring a wide range of issues and options, concluded at the end of January 2020, and 167 submissions were received.

Review of Crown Minerals Act 1991 consultation and discussion document

Decommissioning of petroleum infrastructure and other changes

The first set of issues the Government is addressing relate to strengthening the regulatory framework for decommissioning petroleum infrastructure and expanding the current enforcement toolbox under the Crown Minerals Act 1991. The Government has taken policy decisions to amend the Crown Minerals Act 1991 to:

  • Impose a statutory obligation on all current and future petroleum permit and licence holders to decommission their infrastructure, as an integral part of their petroleum mining operations, and extend this obligation to former permit and licence holders in the case of a transfer;
  • Enable MBIE (as the regulator) to periodically assess permit and licence holders’ financial capability to meet their decommissioning obligations, based on sufficiently detailed and up to date planning and financial information disclosures;
  • Empower MBIE (as the regulator) to require permit and licence holders to maintain adequate financial security for decommissioning purposes, based on permit and licence holders’ individual circumstances and risk profiles;
  • Expand the current enforcement powers under the Crown Minerals Act 1919 to include enforceable undertakings, compliance notices, and infringements; and
  • Make minor and technical amendments to support effective implementation of the above proposals and generally improve the administration of the Crown Minerals Act

The Government plans to introduce an Amendment Bill to implement these changes in 2021. There may be an opportunity to submit on the Bill during the select committee process.

You can find out more about the changes by reading the following policy documents:

The remaining areas of the Crown Minerals Act Tranche Two Review will be considered later, and progressed through a separate legislative change process.

We welcome feedback at any time about our work on the Crown Minerals Act Tranche Two Review. If you would like to contact us, please email

Last updated: 04 June 2021