Seafloor mining decision deferred


A decision on the controversial seabed mining application by Trans Tasman Resources has been extended several weeks by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).

The body's decision-making committee advised last week it would be extending the deadline for delivering its decision to the EPA from June until July 27.

The decision would be publicly released ''as soon as practicable after that''.

In late April, anti-seabed mining groups Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (Kasm) and Greenpeace threatened the EPA they may yet seek a judicial review or court action over its handling of Trans Tasman Resources' mining application.

Trans Tasman's first seabed mining application was turned down in early 2014, but last August it reapplied to the EPA, seeking to mine five million tonnes of iron-rich sands offshore in the Taranaki Bight for export.

General manager of the EPA's EEZ applications team general manager Siobhan Quayle said time extension was made to allow preparation of a ''fully reasoned decision'' for all concerned parties.

At issue for the environmentalists was the EPA having last September formally accepted Trans Tasman's application as ''complete'', but since then it had requested a wide range of new information for the application, which the groups claimed would leave it disadvantaged.

The groups have said they rallied a record 17,000 submissions to the EPA against the application.

Last November, Kasm and Greenpeace were successful in the Environment Court in overturning a decision by the EPA that would have allowed Trans Tasman to redact 190 pages of its application.

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