Chatham Rock advises start of marine consent submissions
Chatham Rock Phosphate advises start of marine consent submission process
Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited (CRP) is pleased to advise the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has now publicly notified CRP’s marine consent application to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
The public notification in major daily newspapers means the submission period on CRP’s application has now opened and will conclude at 5 pm on 10 July 2014. Following the close of this submission period the EPA will then have 20 working days in which it considers the submissions before issuing a hearing notice.
The decision making committee to consider CRP’s application has also been confirmed. The EPA Board has appointed a committee of experienced decision-makers, with collective expertise in ecology, engineering and tikanga Maori, to decide the application. Chair of the committee is 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 in a media release 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 all relevant materials will be provided on the EPA website and regular updates provided to all parties. Full details about the application, the decision-making committee and how to make a submission are available on the EPA website www.epa.govt.nz/eez.
CRP is seeking to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise (250-450 m depth) 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 annually to meet its annual minimum production target of 1.5 million tonnes of phosphate nodules.