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Submissions open on Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd application

Submissions open on Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd marine consent application

12 June 2014

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has opened the submission period on a marine consent application by Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd (CRP) to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The application by CRP was today publicly notified by the EPA in four major daily newpapers and on the EPA website.

CRP is seeking to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise (250-450 m depth) approximately 450 km east of Christchurch. It has a mining permit from New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZP&M) for an 820 sq. km area on the Chatham Rise which forms part of the total area (10,192 sq. km) for which a marine consent is being sought from the EPA. The remaining area may be mined in the future depending on research results and obtaining relevant permits from NZP&M.

CRP is proposing to mine at least 30 sq. km of seabed per annum to meet its annual minimum production target of 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate nodules.

The EPA Board has appointed a committee of experienced decision-makers, with collective expertise in ecology, engineering and tikanga Māori, to decide the application. The committee will be chaired by former career diplomat, Neil Walter. The other members are Dr Nicki Crauford (EPA Board representative), Dr Gregory Ryder, Lennie Johns and David Hill.

EPA Chief Executive Rob Forlong said that the EPA was committed to carrying out a robust decision-making process. The decision-making committee would consider all submissions made by the public and people could choose to speak directly to the panel at public hearings.

“In order to make the best decision, the committee needs to be aware of as much relevant information as possible. We want to hear how a proposal might affect existing interests in the area and the environment. We’re looking for information that may affect the outcome of a decision or that would help to develop conditions that could be imposed if an application was approved.”

Mr Forlong said the EPA would be fully transparent throughout the process with all relevant materials provided on the EPA website and regular updates provided to all parties.

Submissions on the application must be received by 5pm (New Zealand Standard Time) on 10 July 2014. Full details about the application, the decision-making committee and how to make a submission are available on the EPA website


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