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

 


Seabed ironsands miner to appeal resource consent knockback

Seabed ironsands miner to appeal resource consent knockback

By Pattrick Smellie

July 1 (BusinessDesk) - TransTasman Resources, the company seeking to mine ironsands off the ocean floor in the Exclusive Economic Zone, will appeal the rejection of its marine consent application by the decision-making committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority.

TTR is the first company to seek a marine consent under new legislation governing economic activity in New Zealand's vast EEZ, which extends from the 12 mile nautical limit out to 200 kilometres from the coastline and had applied under the new, six-month process to dredge up to 50 million tonnes annually of sand rich in titano-magnetite, a type of iron ore, for export to Asian steel mills.

The EPA-appointed committee rejected the application late last month, saying the environmental effects were not well enough understood, stakeholder consultation had been inadequate, and questioning the commercial viability of the project, which TTR has spent six years and $70 million investigating ahead of an investment of more than $500 million, should it have got the go-ahead.

"We have made a decision to appeal," TTR chief executive Tim Crossley told BusinessDesk. "We do think there are strong grounds. The basis of an appeal can only be on points of law, but we think there are strong grounds on certain points."

Crossley declined to elaborate on the issues the appeal would focus on, but the TTR board continued to believe it was "a great project for New Zealand, albeit it's a costly road forward" on what he said was a "very uncertain period."

"The outcome of an appeal could fall a number of ways. It could set aside the current decision and you go to a rehearing, which could be completely new, or a partial hearing," he said.

Crossley said he was focusing now on who the company both needed and could afford to fund while the appeal process occurred.

Talks with a major investor, which had been ready to invest in the event of a successful consent application, were also continuing.

"We were in advanced negotiations with a potential strategic investor, which would been conditional on a successful EPA decision. The decision no doubt has dented confidence not just in our project but in any project, and it has dented confidence if you are an existing investor to see your way through an appeal and whatever else might be in front of you."

"That being said, the investors we have are supportive enough to believe there's enough merit to go for an appeal."

TTR has backing from a range of local, Australian and American investors.

While reluctant to pass comment on the new EPA process for EEZ marine applications, Crossley said the company's biggest surprise had been the "binary" nature of the process. In Australia, his experience had been that consent applications were a forum for negotiating mutually acceptable outcomes that allowed a project to proceed while meeting environmental concerns "as opposed to an on-off switch."

Having been granted a mining permit, TTR had assumed the process would be "giving effect to that while protecting the environment."

Watching the process carefully is Chatham Rock Phosphate, whose application for an EEZ marine consent to mine phosphate nodules on the Chatham Rise, some 400 kilometres east of Christchurch, is currently lodged with the EPA and open for public submissions.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: Govt Resisting Pressure To Pump More Cash Into Solid Energy

Prime Minister John Key says it is “not the government’s preferred option” to make a fresh capital injection into the troubled state-owned coal miner, Solid Energy, but dodged journalists’ questions at his weekly press conference on whether that might prove necessary... More>>

ALSO:

Lagest Ever Privacy Breach Award: NZCU Baywide Accepts “Severe” Censure In Cake Case

NZCU Baywide says that once it was found to have committed a breach of a former staff member’s privacy, it had attempted to resolve the matter... the censure and remedies for its actions taken almost three years ago are “severe” but accepted, and will hopefully draw a line under the matter. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: PayPal Stops Processing Mega Payments; NZX Listing Still On

PayPal has ceased processing payments for Mega, the file storage and encryption firm looking to join the New Zealand stock market via a reverse listing of TRS Investments, amid claims it is not a legitimate cloud storage service. More>>

ALSO:

Housing Policy: Auckland Densification As Popular As Ebola, English Says

Finance Minister Bill English said calls by the Reserve Bank Governor for more densification in Auckland’s housing were “about as popular in parts of Auckland as Ebola” would be. More>>

ALSO:

Crown Accounts: NZ Government Deficit Smaller Than Expected In First Half

The New Zealand government's operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first six months of the financial year, as the consumption and corporate tax take rose ahead of forecast in December, having lagged estimates in previous months. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news