Dredging hearings

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has opened public submissions on Chatham Rock Phosphate's proposal to mine the Chatham Rise seabed for phosphate, as part of its application for a marine consent.

Chatham Rock, which has spent about $25 million in developing the concept over five years, wants to suction dredge up to 500mm of sediment from the seabed, in depths up to 450m, and remove phosphate nodules by screening aboard ship, then return sediments to the sea.

Submissions are open until July 10 and people have the choice to be heard at later public hearings.

Chatham Rock already has a mining permit from Government permitting agency New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, covering an 820sq km on the Chatham Rise; part of the total 10,192sq km being sought under the EPA's marine consent.

- simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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