Minerals mining permit granted to Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd
2 May 2014
Minerals mining permit granted to Trans-Tasman Resources Limited
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has granted a mining permit to Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd (TTR) for the extraction of ironsand from the South Taranaki Bight.
The 20-year permit is the first step in a regulatory process that may allow the company to extract ironsand over a 66 square kilometre area of seabed, in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Patea.
The mining application was assessed by MBIE’s New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZP&M) branch which assessed TTR’s technical and financial capability, compliance history and undertook a high level assessment of TTR’s capability and systems that are likely to be required to meet applicable health, safety and environmental legislation.
“The granting of this mining permit is just the first stage of the approval process by government regulators. The company will also need to gain a marine consent from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) before any mining can begin,” says NZP&M Acting National Manager Minerals Heyward Bates.
The EPA manages the environmental impact of mining activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. It must consider a broad range of factors when making marine consent decisions, including weighing up potential impacts on the environment and existing interests. This process also includes input from the public. If granted, the consent may set out conditions to address the effects of the activity. Compliance with any conditions will be monitored and enforced.
TTR has submitted an application for a marine consent to the EPA and public hearings are currently underway. The EPA is expected to make a decision on the marine consent in June.
“Though it would be several years before mining commenced, if a marine consent is granted, it is clear this project has considerable benefits,” Mr Bates says.
More information and a map of the permit area is available here.