Min­ing con­sent fur­ther at­tacked

The Dominion Post - - News -

The at­tack on the in­for­ma­tion sub­mit­ted with the ap­pli­ca­tion for seabed min­ing of iron sand has in­creased with Green­peace weigh­ing in at a court hear­ing.

Green­peace and Ki­wis Against Seabed Min­ing lawyer Davey Salmon said the ap­pli­ca­tion by Trans-Tas­man Re­sources to mine off the Taranaki coast was un­prece­dented.

Jus­tice Pe­ter Church­man has al­ready been told in the High Court at Wellington that it was be­lieved to be a world first.

Yes­ter­day, Salmon said the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Author­ity (EPA) de­ci­sion-mak­ing com­mit­tee had breached ba­sic rules of nat­u­ral jus­tice in the hear­ing on Trans-Tas­man’s ap­pli­ca­tion.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for ma­rine and dis­charge con­sents was ap­proved in Au­gust 2017 on con­di­tions that in­cluded a two-year in­for­ma­tion­gath­er­ing ex­er­cise. Other con­sents were needed be­fore min­ing could start, Salmon said.

Ex­perts ad­vis­ing op­po­nents of the plan should have been given a chance to see the in­for­ma­tion, test it and crit­i­cise it but it would not be avail­able for two years, he said.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, the judge was told that the ap­pli­ca­tion was ap­proved without proper in­for­ma­tion as to whether crit­i­cally en­dan­gered species, such as Maui’s dol­phin, were in the area.

The Royal For­est and Bird Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety’s lawyer, Martin Smith, said every in­di­ca­tion was that the de­ci­sion-mak­ing com­mit­tee did not prop­erly con­sider the ef­fect of seabed min­ing on ma­rine mam­mals.

Mem­bers of the author­ity’s com­mit­tee were split on the out­come, giv­ing the chair­man the fi­nal vote to grant Trans-Tas­man 35-year ma­rine and dis­charge con­sents, with con­di­tions, to an­nu­ally mine up to 50 mil­lion tonnes of iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight.

Eleven parties have ap­pealed against the ap­proval.

The hear­ing is due to end this week.

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