Submissions for Chatham Rock Phosphate's proposal to
suction-dredge phosphate from the Chatham Rise sea floor
appear to have generated less opposition than the separate
proposal to dredge iron sands off Taranaki's sea floor.
Trans-Tasman Resources' (TTR) Taranaki iron sands proposal
attracted 4702 submissions, with 99.5% opposing it, which was
then rejected last month by the Environmental Protection
Authority, a decision which is now under appeal.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is now
considering Chatham Rock's proposal, with the submission
deadline having closed, and attracting about 240 submissions.
Public hearings will be scheduled.
Chatham Rock Phosphate managing director Chris Castle said
while final analysis of the 240 submissions, both for and
against, would not be available until next week, he claimed
''a healthy proportion'' were in favour, including from
people with relevant expertise and/or with substantive
arguments favouring Chatham's proposal.
''Further, only a few dozen submitters wish to be heard at
the hearing,'' Mr Castle said in a market update yesterday.
Chatham Rock wants to suction dredge about 300mm of sea
floor, in depths up to 400m, to extract phosphate nodules
aboard ship, and return the sediment to the ocean, targeting
eventual full production of 1.5 million tonnes a year.
While Chatham already has a mining permit, its marine consent
application was filed to the EPA in May, with a decision
expected in November.
''We've designed the way we plan to mine and how we monitor
and mitigate any effects by building in the input of the many
interested parties with whom we have consulted, to ensure
their concerns are addressed,'' Mr Castle said.