Phosphate Mining in NZ – consent application refused

[From the INDEEP mailing list]


In NZ, an application for marine phosphorite nodule mining consent was lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in May 2014 by Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd. Yesterday, the Decision-making Committee (DMC) appointed by the EPA to hear and determine the marine consent application refused consent. The decision is available on the EPA website at:

CRP’s proposal involved mining phosphorite nodules from the Chatham Rise (250-450m depth) approximately 450 km east of Christchurch. CRP proposed to mine at least 30 sq. km of seabed per annum with an annual minimum production target of extracting and landing 1.5 million tonnes of phosphorite nodules. EPA General Manager Applications & Assessment Sarah Gardner said the DMC had concluded that mining would cause significant and permanent adverse effects on the existing benthic environment on the Chatham Rise. This included communities dominated by protected stony corals which were potentially unique to the Chatham Rise and which the DMC concluded were rare and vulnerable ecosystems.

This decision may also have an effect on the pending report on the same company’s bid for phosphate mining off the coast of Namibia:

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