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Marine Consent Hearing Formally Closed

Marine Consent Hearing Formally Closed

19 May 2014

For immediate release

Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) is confident, following completion of its marine consent hearings, that its iron sands project off the coast of Patea can proceed. It now awaits the decision of the Decision-Making Committee (DMC) appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on the application.

“The EEZ Act and the hearing process provided a robust framework to assess TTR’s project on its merits and on the science provided by independent experts. The DMC will consider all the advice of the experts,” said TTR Chief Executive, Tim Crossley, “and that advice supported the basis for the project in all of the key areas.”

On 19 May the DMC formally closed its hearings considering TTR’s marine consent application for the South Taranaki Bight Iron Sands Project. Under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012 (the EEZ Act) the DMC have 20 working days to consider all of the information they have received and make a decision on whether to grant a marine consent to TTR.

“Based on the independent expert evidence and the joint witness statements, we continue to be confident that the local and national benefits of our project substantially outweigh the perceived adverse effects.”

In the hearing process, experts appointed by TTR, the EPA, and other submitters met and completed joint statements on key issues. The statements are publicly available on the EPA website. In some cases, the experts suggested more work should be done.

“While it is easy for submitters and technical experts to identify further work that could be done, there is also a limit to how much information can realistically be expected of an applicant before consent is granted,” said Mr Crossley.

“We thanked the DMC in our closing submissions for its careful attention to all of the evidence and submissions that have been presented and for the manner in which the hearing has been conducted.

“I also want to thank all those who took the time to present oral submissions and evidence. Some of these witnesses and submissions at times challenged TTR. The result is that the project has benefited from a broad set of inputs and in turn TTR has been able to take these in to consideration in its proposed baseline and ongoing monitoring and management programmes.”

TTR’s marine consent application is for a project area of 65.76 km2 in the exclusive economic zone approximately 22.4 to 36 kilometres off the coast of Patea, in water depths of 20-45 metres. TTR proposes to extract up to 50 million tonnes of sediment per year and process the sediment aboard an integrated mining vessel. Around 5 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate will be exported per year. The remaining sediment will be re-deposited on the seafloor in a controlled manner, usually backfilling previous mined areas, which will be typically 5 metres deep.

TTR is a New Zealand company, established in 2007 to explore and develop the North Island’s offshore iron sand deposits. TTR is headquartered in Wellington and is funded by New Zealand and international investment. Since inception TTR has spent more than $50 million to investigate the resource, and on engineering, marketing, studying the existing physical and ecological environment and identifying potential impacts. TTR’s objective is to develop an iron sands extraction project which achieves substantial economic development while protecting the environment.

ENDS

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