A decision sure to anger environmentalists has been released
by government permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum and
Minerals (NZP&M), which has granted Trans-Tasman
Resources a 20-year permit to extract ironsand from the
seabed off Taranaki's coast.
The proposal sparked widespread condemnation from
environmentalists and some local communities and thousands
protested seabed mining.
Trans-Tasman Resources could not move directly to mining, as
it now had to apply for a marine consent from the
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), NZP&M acting
national manager for minerals, Heyward Bates, said in a
Similarly, separate seabed miner Chatham Rock Phosphate is
also seeking a marine consent from the EPA, to suction-dredge
phosphate off the seabed floor, near the Chatham Islands.
NZP&M operates under the Ministry of Business, Innovation
and Employment (MBIE). Trans-Tasman Resources wants to
extract ironsand from a 66sq km area of seabed in New
Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone, off the coast of Patea.
''It [EPA] must consider a broad range of factors when making
marine consent decisions, including weighing up potential
impacts on the environment and existing interests,'' Mr Bates
Trans-Tasman Resources had submitted a marine consent
application to the EPA and public hearings were under way.
The EPA was expected to release a decision by June.
''Though it would be several years before mining commenced,
if a marine consent is granted, it is clear this project has
considerable benefits,'' Mr Bates said.