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

 

Royal Society: Review Finds Community Water Fluoridation Safe And Effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Croxley Calls Time On NZ Production In Face Of Cheap Imports

Croxley Stationery, whose stationery brands include Olympic, Warwick and Collins, plans to cease manufacturing in New Zealand because it has struggled to compete with lower-cost imports in a market where the printed word is giving way to electronic communications. More>>

ALSO:

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

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