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

 


Environmentalists seek to delay seabed mining application

Environmental groups call for postponement of seabed mining application

By Pattrick Smellie

March 11 (BusinessDesk) – Environmental groups are calling for the postponement of TransTasman Resources’ application to mine ironsands in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast from Patea, claiming the company has not taken all relevant considerations into account.

While the five member panel of commissioners considering the application declined to adjourn the hearings, which are scheduled to take around two months, they did call for legal advice on whether TTR might also need a resource consent under the Resource Management Act, as well as an EEZ Act marine consent.

That followed submissions by the Environmental Defence Society that if sediment released in the mining process drifted inside the 12 mile nautical limit, TTR would require an RMA consent as well as a marine consent.

The area TTR proposes to mine is all outside the 12 mile limit, and is therefore governed only by the EEZ Act, but one of the major issues in the hearings will be the impact of sediment plumes on the surrounding environment when TTR returns sands that have been stripped of iron ore to the seafloor.

Iron ore comprises around 10 percent of the volume of the sands to be mined, with the remaining 90 percent to be returned to the seafloor, where impacts on the relatively sparse seafloor life in the area should recover within two to five years, according to TTR’s submissions.

TTR had originally planned to mine an area straddling the 12 mile limit but chose instead to concentrate on a 66 square kilometre area between 22 kilometres and 36 kilometres from shore. Its opening submissions yesterday said the seabead in the relatively shallow waters of the South Taranaki Bight were already subject to regular, natural “perturbation”.

The main thrust of submissions from both EDS and the lobby group Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) is that inadequate information and baseline scientific research meant consent should either be refused or approved only in stages, and using an adaptive management approach.

The EEZ Act required caution, and an adaptive management regime would mean the project could proceed only once each staged element had proven to work as well as claimed.

“Adaptive management should not be used as a way of finding out what the effects of an activity will be,” the EDS submission. “In the event that consent is granted, the Environmental Protection Authority is able to grant a staged consent. This may include carefully defined thresholds or environmental indicators as preconditions to approval of subsequent stages.”

It also challenged TTR’s suggestion that a staged approach could threaten the project’s economic viability

“It would be an error of law to state that a consent condition cannot be imposed requiring staging of this proposal on the assertion that this makes the project not viable to investors.”

KASM’s submission opposed the project on broad grounds, including negative impacts on the mining area, its surrounds and distant coastal marine environment, “changing the physical, chemical and biological nature of the seawater, causing ecosystem stress and reducing the ability for life in the water column and on the seabed to exist, thus degrading the quality of the oceans as a whole.”

“Specific potential adverse effects identified in our expert evidence include on the marine biodiversity, including the benthos and marine mammals, including blue whales and Maui’s dolphins.”

TTR had “failed to sufficiently address the crucial, and in our submission, central, issue of the effects of the mining on the benthic environment. This, in our submission, is a fundamental and crippling failure.”

It sought adjournment of the hearings while these alleged deficiencies were remedied, which the EPA-appointed commissioners declined, saying this could be dealt with during expert witness testimony later this month.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Real Estate: Housing Prices Head South In Most Of NZ

Housing became more affordable for first home buyers in many parts of the country including Auckland last month, as falling prices more than offset rising mortgage interest rates. More>>

ALSO:

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:

NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Business
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news