Mining consent further attacked
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.