Sea min­ing con­sents quashed

Stratford Press - - News - By LAU­REL STOWELL Whanganui Chron­i­cle

Calls for a mora­to­rium on seabed min­ing have been re­newed fol­low­ing a High Court de­ci­sion quash­ing Trans-Tas­man Re­sources’ con­sents to mine iron sand off­shore from Patea.

Both Ki­wis Against Seabed Min­ing and the Green Party — cel­e­brat­ing their court­room vic­tory — want such a mora­to­rium.

Trans-Tas­man Re­sources (TTR) ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Alan Eg­gers was nat­u­rally dis­ap­pointed by the de­ci­sion, and told the Chron­i­cle the com­pany was con­sid­er­ing its op­tions.

And South Taranaki mayor Ross Dun­lop said lo­cal peo­ple would have mixed feel­ings.

Many have been vo­cal about en­vi­ron­men­tal con­cerns around the min­ing op­er­a­tion — and he shares those con­cerns. How­ever, he said oth­ers had ex­pressed in­ter­est in eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity, and any pos­si­ble jobs had now been lost.

Jus­tice Peter Church­man is­sued the de­ci­sion on Au­gust 27.

TTR had pre­vi­ously been de­clined con­sent in 2014, but a sec­ond ap­pli­ca­tion was granted in Au­gust 2017 by a de­ci­sion­mak­ing com­mit­tee of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Au­thor­ity (EPA). The con­sents would have al­lowed TTR to suck up 50 mil­lion tonnes of iron sand a year from the seafloor be­tween 22km and 36km off­shore, and ex­port five mil­lion tonnes of iron ore to Asia. The com­pany said it would have cre­ated 300 jobs and in­creased New Zealand gross do­mes­tic prod­uct by $160 mil­lion.

The de­ci­sion-mak­ing com­mit­tee set 109 con­di­tions for the min­ing, in­clud­ing the com­pany spend­ing two years as­sess­ing the marine en­vi­ron­ment be­fore start­ing min­ing, and then as­sess­ing dam­age to sea life after five years. If sed­i­ment af­fected the clar­ity of coastal wa­ter by more than 10 per cent, it would have to stop min­ing.

Jus­tice Church­man said the con­di­tions amounted to an adap­tive man­age­ment ap­proach — one where con­di­tions were set after the ac­tiv­ity was tested.

Un­der ex­clu­sive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) leg­is­la­tion, residues from min­ing are classed as haz­ardous sub­stances.

The judg­ment also said the con­sent­ing au­thor­ity, the EPA, must favour cau­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion when in­for­ma­tion is un­cer­tain or in­ad­e­quate.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.