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By Ross Louthean

Australian mineral royalty company Royalco Resources still has its fingers crossed on the hopes for a gold mining revival in two areas of the South Island.

Gold shares are moving back into vogue early in 2019 and North American brokers are doing research on OceanaGold.

The global importance of coal may be better understood in Australia than in New Zealand but key Queensland lobbies are taking the campaign to a public being brainwashed by opponents.

A jack-up drilling rig will arrive in Admiralty Bay early next month to help with service and maintenance work on offshore production fields now held by OMV New Zealand.

The new broom in the Reserve Bank has announced the final two senior appointments for the make-up of the management team.

When the Trans Pacific Partnership was cobbled together with strong NZ and Australian support the spoiler was Donald Trump who took America out of the deal, but he now reportedly has had a change of mind.

Recent News

Gold News

OceanaGold appears set to end its calendar year production on a high. Correspondent Simon Hartley and Craigs Investment Partners broker Peter McIntyre look back on the company’s year.

The mothballs are about to be brushed off the Blackwater gold mine which has been one of the high grade mines that last worked in the 1950s.

The vital resource consents have been granted for the major Martha underground mine development at Waihi along with reopening of the Martha open cut, so the only likely challenge will come from the appeals period.

Reporting by New Age Exploration this year gave an indication that its Otago gold quest was its lowest priority, but recent results and a potential sale of the company’s coal project in the UK has changed this.

Australian junior explorer Laneway Resources still has ambitions for its prospects near Karangahake in New Zealand’s Hauraki Goldfield and has plans to drill a key target.

Oil & Gas News

While New Zealand has challenges ahead with domestic gas supply the LNG exports from Australia in 2018 hit a new record.

A company controlled by New Zealand Oil & Gas has seen its minority shareholders support the Wellington-based company gaining equity in two offshore permits in friendlier foreign waters.

With TAG Oil now quitting New Zealand’s oil and gas scene, its Canadian partner in part of the Cheal gas field is looking at options for its equity in the onshore Taranaki.

There was overwhelming shareholder support in Canada for TAG Oil to sell its production and exploration assets in New Zealand.

A major employer group on the South Island has pushed for Government support for offshore oil and gas exploration specifically to support security of future NZ gas supply.

Coal, Lignite & CSG/CBM News

A specialty nitrogen plant has arrived on site at the ruined Pike River colliery to help the planned re-entry into what is currently a methane-filled mine.

A report by a British coal mining expert has been incorporated in the latest detailed update report from the Pike River Recovery Agency.

Shareholders of Bathurst Resources saw the positive growth the company achieved after forging the BT Mining joint venture but they may be holding their breath awaiting the outcome of a court appeal.

Owners of the new coking coal mine near Westport will take their battle back to court after the legal and political blocks from anti-miners and the Green Party enclave in the current Government.

One of the key coal mines on the North Island has been given a life extension through a decision to develop a new resource.

Other Metals & Minerals News

Minority shareholders are unhappy with the terms offered for the delisting of aspiring Western Australian iron ore miner Flinders Mines.

Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods has told miners it was keen to see NZ get into finding battery metals, but with many access doors already shut that is hard, particularly following a sobering report from a London stockbroker.

Nautilus Minerals which has been receiving loans from a company linked to its two major shareholders has been given a time extension on a loan while looking for new funding to complete its seabed mining project.

The Todd-family controlled Flinders Mines has announced plans to delist on the ASX and the company has sent its offer to minority shareholders holding unmarketable parcels of shares.

Nautilus Minerals has taken up another loan from a finance company linked to its two key shareholders as it advances towards a seafloor massive sulphides deposit in Papua New Guinea waters.

Renewable Energy News

A Dunedin company has produced a smaller single blade wind turbine ideal for private and small community use.

A parliamentary committee was told yesterday by an energy company chief executive that hydrogen energy may be years away from being commercial and in the interim Huntly power station will remain an essential backup for renewable energy.

NZ Windfarms which has undergone a year of significant changes is now to get a new director and a change at the top.

Despite all the rhetoric New Zealand may never be totally operating with renewable energy but there are greater and costly questions on going too far with renewables in Australia.

With a full takeover bid being just avoided Tilt Renewables has announced a share allotment right to senior staff.

Environment News

A total of 150 years ago to today a massive earthquake off South America saw a huge tsunami sweep across the Pacific, hitting New Zealand and causing fatalities on the Chatham Islands.

By switching to ground power instead of inbuilt aircraft supply while at NZ airports international Air New Zealand flights were generating big savings on jet fuel and also lowering the carbon footprint.

The faulting under Dunedin may be greater than originally thought but a new GNS Science led study is not ringing any alarm bells.

The top of the North Island had a nasty jolt with a 5.4 magnitude earthquake. Fortunately it was quite deep.

New Zealand scientists and a prominent university have joined forces to support food authentication requirements for developing nations

Education, Science & Technology News

White Island is often bubbling as New Zealand’s most active volcano and scientists are noting another potential overflow on its Crater Lake.

A sophisticated new geohazard monitoring centre has been set up for GNS Science to enhance the requirement for a quick response.

Key old maps help scientists better define the location of the historic Pink Terraces and White Terraces.

Scientists have produced a new global map that shows where major earthquakes have occurred across the globe.

An organiser who lived through the Canterbury earthquakes has been appointed as new head of the Resilience Challenge Governance Group.

Economics, Politics & Government News

The new Government has aroused a lot of comment about its committees and inquiries it has formed, and the market analysts are wanting to see what will come from some of these initiatives.

This has been an entertaining year for political journalists in New Zealand and our commentator Dene Mackenzie considered the one least caught up in the mire was Justice Minister Andrew Little.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson talked of compelling numbers in the December update for the Budget.

Since becoming Government, the Labour Party has been bedevilled by strike moves and wage claims but it has just avoided a public stain through an Air New Zealand strike being avoided.

A discussion paper on the vexing initiative of the Ardern Government to ban any mining on conservation land should be available early in the New Year.

Other News

The annual AusIMM NZ mining event will this year be run as a section of the PACRIM 2019 conference being held in Auckland.

The Reserve Bank has confirmed the appointment of its new chief of information.

Trawling through the past year's stories and economic data, correspondent Simon Hartley reviewed Otago's economy with the chief executives of Port Otago and the Otago Chamber of Commerce, respectively Kevin Winders and Dougal McGowan.

Some new investment roads are expected for Infratil in 2019 with the proposed sale of its NZ Bus business.

Downer EDI, which reportedly is considering selling its mining division, has added another major light rail project to its operations in eastern Australia.