Mining firm sees shares jump after fast track claim

Chatham Rock Phosphate share price rose from $0.118 from 1pm on Wednesday, to $0.151 at 3pm on...
Chatham Rock Phosphate share price rose from $0.118 from 1pm on Wednesday, to $0.151 at 3pm on Thursday. Photo: RNZ
By Kate Green

A mining company has seen a boost in share value after making claims about fast-track consents, the second company in less than a week which the infrastructure minister has accused of being "misleading".

Chatham Rock Phosphate published a notice on the share market website on Thursday morning, saying it had been "requested" by the government to apply for the fast-track approvals process.

Since doing so, its share price had risen from $0.118 from 1pm on Wednesday, to $0.151 at 3pm on Thursday.

The Fast-Track Approvals Bill is before select committee, and open for public consultation, until 19 April.

It would see a massive reduction in public scrutiny over which projects achieve consent. Environmental advocates are concerned it will allow destructive projects to take place where previously consents had been declined, in some cases, even in court.

The company's notice on the NZX said it "wishes to advise that the company has been requested by the New Zealand government to make an application for the Chatham Rise rock phosphate project to be considered as a listed project in the Fast Track Consenting Bill".

According to its statement, should Chatham Rock Phosphate's project be included in the list, "we would anticipate that the permitting process would not only be quicker but could involve reduced costs and would likely have a more certain outcome".

"The application for the Chatham Rise project to be included on the list is under preparation and will be submitted well before the May 3, 2024 deadline."

Earlier this week, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop accused Australian seabed mining company Trans Tasman Resources of "being misleading" by announcing it had been invited to apply for the fast-track approvals list.

He said the "formal invite" was a generic letter sent to 200 organisations, containing information on how to apply for fast-track approval.

When asked on Thursday, following Chatham Rock Phosphate's claim, whether the letter could be interpreted as an invite for the second time in a week, Bishop said again it had been a misunderstanding.

In response, Chatham Rock Phosphate said in a statement: "We are entirely comfortable with the wording of our release particularly given our continuous disclosure obligations as a company with thousands of shareholders and stock exchange listings in New Zealand, Canada and Frankfurt."

However, a halt had been placed on trading its shares around 3.31pm on Thursday, "to provide the market with information necessary to clarify and contextualise the nature of the application process, as relevant to CRP, referred to in that announcement".

RNZ has requested a copy of the letter, and a list of its recipients.