Ironsand miner granted permit

Last updated 05:00 03/05/2014
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Concerns are mounting in the surfing and fishing communities as a mining company eyes ironsands off Taranaki.

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The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has granted a mining permit to Trans-Tasman Resources for its proposed project to mine ironsand from the seabed in the South Taranaki Bight.

But, TTR has a few more hoops to go through, including getting a marine consent, before the project can go ahead.

The hearing before the Environmental Protection Authority into the application by TTR for a marine consent wrapped up its New Plymouth leg yesterday.

The hearing continues in Wellington next week and is expected to finish about May 8. A decision is expected 20 days later.

The EPA manages the environmental impact of mining activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. If granted, the consent may set out conditions to address the effects of the activity. Compliance with any conditions will be monitored and enforced.

The 20-year permit, granted by MBIE is the first step in the regulatory process that may allow the company to extract ironsand over a 66 square kilometre area of seabed, in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Patea.

The mining application was assessed by MBIE's New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZP&M) branch which assessed TTR's technical and financial capability, compliance history and undertook a high level assessment of TTR's capability and systems that are likely to be required to meet applicable health, safety and environmental legislation.

"The granting of this mining permit is just the first stage of the approval process by government regulators. The company will also need to gain a marine consent from the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) before any mining can begin," NZP&M acting national manager minerals Heyward Bates said.

"Though it would be several years before mining commenced, if a marine consent is granted, it is clear this project has considerable benefits."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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