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New Zealand's minerals

Find out more about New Zealand’s minerals.

Tectonic history
New Zealand contains a wide variety of mineral deposits both onshore and offshore that reflect its dynamic tectonic history.

New Zealand's ongoing tectonic deformation and metamorphism, diverse volcanic complexes, active geothermal systems, and classic schist belts provide a natural laboratory for the processes and controls involved in ore formation.

Mineral wealth of NZ cover

Mineral deposits
The main minerals include coal, gold, silver, ironsand, aggregate, limestone, clay, dolomite, pumice, salt, serpentinite, zeolite and bentonite.

In addition, there are resources or potential for deposits of titanium (ilmenite beachsands), sulphur, phosphate, silica, platinum and mercury.

Extensive metallogenic mapping has documented a range of deposit types including epithermal gold-silver, orogenic gold, porphyry copper-gold and molybnenum, lead-zinc skarns, placer gold, and shoreline placer iron-vanadium and titanium.

Download New Zealand maps for the distribution of the following resources:

General Reference

  • B.Thompson, B. Brathwaite and T.Christie, 1995. Mineral Wealth of New Zealand. 170p.
  • R Brathwaite, F Pirajno, 1993. Metallogenic map of New Zealand. 215p., 2 maps, 4 sheets showing 39 maps.

Buy these books at our GNS Science Store

Offshore exploration

GNS Science and NIWA have been studying New Zealand's offshore mineral resources to gain a better understanding of their evolution and economic value.

Maori Legends

The Māori people are the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand. As such, Māori have developed a deep understanding and knowledge of the natural environment.