CRP files Marine Consent application
CRP files Marine Consent application – starts six month decision process
Chatham Rock Phosphate yesterday submitted its formal marine consent application to the Environmental Protection Authority. Should it be accepted as complete, the six-month formal process is expected to lead to a decision in November.
The application, representing four years’ work and $25 million in investment, is the second seabed mining proposal under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012, and will be considered through a full public process by an expert panel appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
The marine consent is the only major licence CRP now needs, having gained a mining permit for its phosphate extraction project in December 2013. CRP submitted a draft application to the EPA on 31 March 2014 and since then has been working with the EPA to address the EPA's preliminary comments on its application.
Managing Director Chris Castle said he was confident the application would meet the tough standard demanded by the law.
“Our focus has always been two-fold: base the analysis on science and consult with all interested parties to ensure their concerns are addressed through the process. Input from both stakeholders and scientists is critical to make sure all the bases are covered.
“The results of this analysis and consultation are that we understand what the environmental impacts are likely to be and we can clearly demonstrate how we can minimise and mitigate them. We know this project can deliver to its shareholders financially, and to other stakeholders in terms of environmental requirements.”
CRP’s phosphate resource, located on the seabed of the Chatham Rise, offers fertiliser security for New Zealand’s primary industry, has big export and import substitution potential, as well as environmental benefits as a direct application fertiliser, making it a project of national significance.
The main 400-plus page document comprising the Environmental Impact Assessment is supplemented by 35 appendices, mostly scientific reports. The information will be publicly available on the EPA website and via a link on www.rockphosphate.co.nz should the EPA accept the application as complete. All interested parties will then able to read the information, make submissions and attend public hearings during the next six months.