Information requests just 'part of the process'

Seabed mining applicant Chatham Rock Phosphate has welcomed further information requests from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The EPA last week requested additional information from Chatham Rock, in addition to its May application for a marine consent to suction-dredge phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise seafloor.

When Chatham Rock was contacted and asked if pressure was coming on to supply more reports, a spokeswoman said information requests were ''common and part of the process''.

''We've been in close dialogue with the EPA for several months and there have been several requests for further information or clarification,'' she said.

Public meetings have been scheduled in Wellington and the Chatham Islands, with a decision expected from the EPA in about November.

''We see this [latest request] as positive because it helps clarify things at an earlier stage in the process,'' the spokeswoman said.

There had been about 240 submissions on the proposal, which is the second being considered by the EPA, on the issue of mining in the exclusive economic zone.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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