Seabed mining opponents mobilise

AMY MAAS
Last updated 16:38 05/09/2012

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An organisation opposing seabed mining along Auckland's west coast are expecting a full house at a community meeting tonight on what they say are imminent plans to mine for iron sand.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) will "inform and educate" the Muriwai community about the consequences of seabed mining if resource consents are granted to foreign companies.

"These are proposals that have been brewing for several years and, we feel, are about to come to some fruition," said Tim Rainger, spokesman for KASM.

"The first resource consents to mine the West Coast seabeds we expect to go before the district council this year."

KASM was set up in 2005 in the wake of interest in mining the West Coast seabeds.

The entire west coast, from Whanganui to Cape Reinga, is already covered by prospecting or exploration licences.

In the early 90s, the Muriwai community successfully fought against land-based mining.

"The people that live there, live there for a reason and it's generally something to do with the ocean," Rainger said.

He said impacts included the potential loss of fish species and the health of fisheries may decline.

"The physical impacts would include erosion which would impact properties and alter the symmetry of the West Coast would have unknown but probably bad impacts," he said.

He added that there was little science around seabed mining, but if it went ahead the first resource consent would be the largest scale seabed mining in the world.

Tonight's meeting will be held at the Muriwai Fire Station at 7.30pm.

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