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

 


Phosphate miner cries foul over 'premature' EPA report

Phosphate miner cries foul over 'premature' EPA report

By Pattrick Smellie

Aug. 19 (BusinessDesk) - Chatham Rock Phosphate is crying foul over the publication of a report by staff at the Environmental Protection Authority concluding it cannot recommend approval for the company's proposed seabed mining operation, saying the report is "premature" and that the government agency failed to take account of the NZAX-listed company's obligations to the market for continuous disclosure of material events.

CRP's managing director, Chris Castle, says in the statement first released late last evening that the report "should have not have been issued until the information requested of CRP was provided."

Shares of thinly traded CRP fell 10 percent to 18 cents a share in early trading of 5,500 shares of the company's 160 million issued shares on the NZAX this morning, its lowest level since January 2012.

The company had gained a two week extension to EPA deadlines to answer a range of additional questions from both the agency and submitters on the project, which seeks to mine phosphate nodules off the seafloor on the Chatham Rise, some 400 kilometres east of Christchurch, for up to 30 years. CRP also halved the size of its initial marine consent application area and has delayed its planned listing on London's AIM exchange until after hearings on the proposal conclude. That is scheduled for late this year.

A decision-making committee (DMC) of experts has been appointed by the EPA to hear the application, the second for a marine consent involving seabed mining since a new regime governing economic activity in the Exclusive Economic Zone came into effect last year. The first application, for ironsands mining off the coast of Patea, was rejected in June and is to be appealed by the applicant, Trans Tasman Resources.

EPA staff reports are an input to the DMC's process, but the CRP staff report is far tougher on the project than its first report on the TTR application.

It found the range of environmental uncertainties both from the mining itself and the sediment plume it would create were too great to be able to recommend the project "as it stands, but recognise that there is more information to be provided, which may change our view.”

Castle said CRP would "never expect a report at this stage in the process to recommend approval. Otherwise what is the point of all of the additional information, the caucusing of expert witnesses, and the weeks of hearings that are still ahead?

“Of course there are uncertainties. That’s what this whole Marine Consent process is designed to identify and clarify.

“It was unnecessary for the staff report to come out prior to us completing the additional information that was requested. I understand the report should not be too late in the process (as it was with Trans Tasman Resources) but I think in this case it was too early," said Castle.

“My other key concern is the EPA issued the report without any reference to us, in the middle of a business day. We are a stock exchange listed company and need to ensure our investors are continually informed. We had expected that the EPA understood the issues that would be caused by their releasing a huge swathe of information without us having the opportunity to assess the information and advise our shareholders.

CRP argues New Zealand agriculture's reliance on imported phosphate, used for fertiliser, could be replaced by phosphate from the Chatham Rise and potentially create a new export industry.

The bid is strongly opposed by the commercial fishing industry, which is prevented from bottom-trawling in a much larger zone that includes the mining permit application area.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Tourism: China Southern Airlines To Fly To Christchurch

China Southern Airlines, in partnership with Christchurch Airport and the South Island tourism industry, has announced today it will begin flying directly between Guangzhou, Mainland China and the South Island. More>>

ALSO:

Dodgy: Truck Shops Come Under Scrutiny

Mobile traders, or truck shops, target poorer communities, particularly in Auckland, with non-compliant contracts, steep prices and often lower-quality goods than can be bought at ordinary shops, a Commerce Commission investigation has found. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland Transport: Government, Council Agree On Funding Approach

The government and Auckland Council have reached a detente over transport funding, establishing a one-year, collaborative timetable for decisions on funding for the city's transport infrastructure growth in the next 30 years after the government refused to fund the $2 billion of short and medium-term plans outlined in Auckland's draft Unitary Plan. More>>

ALSO:

Bullish On China Shock: Slumping Equities, Commodities May Continue, But Not A GFC

The biggest selloff in stock markets in at least four years, slumping commodity prices and a surge in Wall Street's fear gauge don't mean the world economy is heading for another global financial crisis, fund managers say. More>>

ALSO:

Real Estate: Investors Driving Up Auckland Housing Risk - RBNZ

The growing presence of investors in Auckland's property market is increasing the risks, and is likely to both amplify the housing cycle and worsen the potential damage from a downturn both to the financial system and the broader economy, said Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer. More>>

ALSO:

Annual Record: Overseas Visitors Hit 3 Million Milestone

Visitor arrivals to New Zealand surpassed 3 million for the first time in the July 2015 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. The record-breaking 3,002,982 visitors this year was 7 percent higher than the July 2014 year. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news