Seabed mining decision delayed

A decision by the Environmental Protection Authority on the controversial seabed mining application by Trans Tasman Resources has been postponed for the second time.

In mid-June, the EPA's decision-making committee extended the deadline for its decision until this week, but yesterday announced a further extension, meaning it will not be made publicly available until mid-August.

Trans Tasman's first seabed mining application was declined by the EPA in early 2014, costing it around $66 million in research and development. It reapplied to the EPA last August.

Trans Tasman wants to mine 50 million tonnes of iron-rich sands annually offshore in the Taranaki Bight for export, and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (Kasm) and Greenpeace amassed a record 17,000 submissions to the EPA opposing the application.

Two seabed mining applications have been considered by the EPA to date and turned down.

An EPA spokeswoman said yesterday it was ''an important application and the committee is determined to ensure it has given full consideration to all of the information presented at the hearing and prepare a fully reasoned decision''.

The decision document ''could run into hundreds of pages'' and would require proofreading. It would be delivered to the EPA on August 3 and publicly released during the week starting August 14, the spokeswoman said in a statement.

In April the environmental groups threatened to seek a judicial review or court action over the EPA's handling of Trans Tasman's mining application.

simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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