A mining industry group says the controversy over whether to allow mining on the Denniston Plateau is putting international firms off from investing in New Zealand.
Straterra chief executive Chris Baker has been speaking at the New Zealand meeting of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, being held in Nelson this week.
Mr Baker made reference to Bathurst Resource's lengthy and costly legal battle to gain resource consent to create an open cast coal mine on conservation land on the West Coast.
Mr Baker says it has been a disaster for the industry.
"What we are seeing with Bathurst is a powerful advertisement to not invest in New Zealand," he says.
"This listed company has had to endure an excruciating resource consent process characterised by appeal after appeal, with likely more to come."
Meanwhile, Department of Conservation director general, Al Morrison, has been forced to defend DoC's decision to allow Bathurst Resources access to mine on the Denniston Plateau, in exchange for a $22 million environmental compensation package.
DoC, Forest and Bird and a legal expert took part in a discussion entitled "To mine or not to mine" at the conference.
Mr Morrison said the mining firm would pay for the privilege: "Those who take from nature need to give back to nature. Those who take the most should give back the most. Those who benefit the most should give back most generously."