The New Zealand Government will enter negotiations for a Negotiated Greenhouse Agreement with Silicon Metal Industries (New Zealand) Limited.
Silicon Metal Industries (NZ) Ltd intends to convert gravel deposits in Southland into silicon metal, which is used in the manufacture of rubber tyres and high-technology products such as solar panels, silicon chips, liquid crystal displays, silicon plastics, light metal alloys and long-life silicon paints.
The company has an exploration permit and an access agreement for gravel deposits at Pebbly Hills, central Southland. Negotiated Greenhouse Agreements (NGAs) are a key element of New Zealand's climate change policy.
An NGA is a binding agreement between a firm and the Government that commits the firm to moving towards world's best practice in managing greenhouse gas emissions. In return, the Government provides a full or partial exemption for the firm from the emissions charge that is to be introduced by 2008. NGAs are limited to firms or industries whose international competitiveness would be at risk from an emissions charge.
The Government has signed one NGA, with the New Zealand Refining Company, and is negotiating with ACI Glass Packaging, paper mill operator Norske Skog Tasman, mining companies Newmont Waihi and GRD Macraes, New Zealand Aluminium Smelters Limited and some of Carter Holt Harvey's major New Zealand manufacturing operations.
Mr Hodgson said the negotiations were a significant step in the implementation of climate change policy, which is designed to enable New Zealand to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.
"NGAs will constrain greenhouse gas emissions while protecting the international competitiveness of New Zealand businesses. They encourage businesses to pursue the economic and environmental advantages of best practice in emissions management."
The New Zealand Climate Change Office at the Ministry for the Environment takes applications from firms seeking NGAs and assesses their eligibility and priority. It has further applications under assessment.
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