Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Offshore ironsands mining permit sought

Offshore ironsands mining permit sought

By Pattrick Smellie

July 29 (BusinessDesk) - Offshore mining of ironsands deposited in the southern Taranaki bight has come a step closer with the lodging of a mining permit application by TransTasman Resources, a privately held, Australian-led venture with plans for a multi-billion dollar export industry.

TTR's application is for a 65.76 square kilometre area between 22 and 35 kilometres offshore from Patea in an area where it already holds a prospecting licence, outside the territorial waters of the 12 nautical zone and in New Zealand's vast Exclusive Economic Zone.

It plans to lodge a resource consent application for mining in October, using new environmental consenting regulations governing the EEZ.

TTR plans to use unconventional mining techniques, similar to those in development to mine offshore phosphate deposits on the Chatham Rise by New Zealand company Chatham Rock Phosphate. In both cases, suction systems would remove ironsands and phosphate nodules along with seafloor sediment, extract the valuable elements and return the remainder to the seafloor.

In both cases, extensive environmental studies have been under way for some years to try and prove the areas support relatively sparse marine life.

TTR says "prospecting work to date suggests there is a vast world-class mineral resource which could supply Asian markets with a reliable supply of low-cost iron ore."

The TTR process targets titanomagnetite in sands deposited far into the Taranaki Bight by volcanoes over millennia. Australian mining giant Fortescue and the Chinese government's SinoMetals also hold prospecting licences for ironsands further north off the North Island west coast and ironsands have been mined for years at Taharoa Beach, near Port Waikato, for export.

While less commonly used than conventionally mined onshore iron ore in making steel, TTR believes its technology will be far cheaper than onshore mining and will make its product more resilient to the gyrations in global metal prices that have impacted aluminium, steel and coking coal markets in the last few years.

An environmental lobby group, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), has been established to oppose the extraction, fearing environmental impacts not only far out at sea but also on inshore, fisheries, ecology and surf breaks.

"This is an important milestone for TTR” said TTR chief executive Tim Crossley. “But it is just the first step in the overall approvals process.”

The mining permit application will be assessed by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals for technical data on the proposed resource, geology, the proposed work programme as well as TTR’s ability to manage the project, and health and safety.

“Based on the environmental research conducted by (government-owned science body) NIWA and overseas experience, we have refined our extraction and processing methodology to minimise the potential environmental effects of our operations," said Crossley.

“While the permit covers a relatively small area, the project should provide long term employment and benefits to the local communities of South Taranaki and Whanganui."

The company has been engaging iwi and local communities since early in the investigation phase, which began in 2009.

"The wider public will also have an opportunity to have their say on the project once we lodge our marine consents with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)," Crossley said in a statement.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Future Brighter Money: RBNZ Releases New Bank Note Designs

New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year. More>>

ALSO:

Commerce: Supermarket Inquiry Finds No Breaches By Countdown

The Commerce Commission inquiry into anti-competitive behaviour by Countdown supermarkets, alleged by former Labour Party MP Shane Jones, has found nothing to warrant prosecution, although it warns supermarkets to take care in the way they communicate... More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: English Flags ‘Challenge’ To Budget Surplus

Finance Minister Bill English is warning next month’s half yearly fiscal and economic update from the Treasury may not forecast a budget surplus, saying that returning the government’s accounts to surplus in 2015 will be “a challenge”, given the decline in commodity prices and weak global inflation. More>>

ALSO:

March 2015: Netflix To Launch In Australia And New Zealand

World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price More>>

ALSO:

Price Of Cheese (Is Up): Dairy Product Prices Fall To Five-Year Low

Dairy product prices fell in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction to the lowest level in more than five years, led by declines in rennet casein and skim milk powder. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Australians Scoring Trade Points Against Us With The Chinese

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser... To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. More>>

ALSO:

Iwi & Local Consultation: Oil And Gas Block Offer 2015 Begins

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges today announced the start of the Block Offer 2015 process for awarding oil and gas exploration permits. More>>

Industrial Action: Stats NZ Throwing Public Money Away Duplicating Data

The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ are throwing money away by collecting the same data twice for official statistics such as the Consumer Price Index... As part of the ongoing industrial action, field interviewers who are PSA members are continuing to collect data, but are not sending it through to Statistics NZ. More>>

ALSO:

Other Stats:

Space: Rosetta's 'Philae' Makes Historic First Landing On A Comet

After more than a decade traveling through space, a robotic lander built by the European Space Agency has made the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news