Chatham Rock plans to list on London's AIM

Would-be seabed miner Chatham Rock Phosphate is pushing ahead with plans to list on London's mining-friendly AIM stock exchange, while waiting for approvals from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

Chatham is listed on the alternative New Zealand stock exchange and gave formal notice on Friday of its intention to list on AIM, the Alternate Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

Chatham has spent about $25 million to date in research and development to have a contractor suction-dredge phosphate chips off the Chatham Rise seafloor, in about 400m of water. It proposes to replace all imported phosphate by eventually mining 1.5 tonnes a year.

Chatham's announcement yesterday did not contain detail of how much it hoped to raise, but said its expected admission date to AIM was mid-July.

The EPA's maiden decision last month knocked back Trans Tasman Resource's plans to mine iron sand from the seabed off Taranaki, which raised misgivings in the resource sector about future offshore investment in New Zealand projects.

Chatham has its permit to mine the Chatham Rise, but must wait about four to five months to see if it gets marine consent from the EPA for the project.

On the industry disappointment over Trans Tasman not getting its marine consent, Chatham chief executive Chris Castle said at the time its application could not be compared with Trans Tasman's.

He remained ''very confident'' Chatham had submitted a ''robust and comprehensive'' EPA application which would ''meet the legal tests'' under the relevant legislation.

''It is for a different mineral, in a very different marine environment and using different extraction methods and will be considered by a different decision-making committee [of the EPA],'' Mr Castle said.

In June last year Chatham raised a disappointing $1.6 million of $4 million sought, but subsequently raised a further $2.1 million in placements and shareholder rights issue.

For the past two financial years ended March, Chatham spent more than $11 million on operating activities and booked losses of $1.42 million for each financial year.

-simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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