Seabed fight now for legal fees

Anti-seabed mining campaigners and a South Taranaki iwi say a decision to finally scuttle a massive ironsand mining operation is a "victory for common sense".

Last week, Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) dropped its attempt to reverse the Environmental Protection Authority's decision to decline consent to extract 50 million tonnes of sediment per year, across 65.76 square kilometres.

Te Runanga Ngati Ruanui Trust chief executive Debbie Ngarewa- Packer said that as the only iwi in litigation opposing the appeal, they were confident it would not get off the ground.

"This has been an arduous exercise for nothing and now we are in another battle as our lawyers will be fighting to ensure TTR pay our legal costs, not just the EPA as they are proposing.

"We have watched a company, with no practising experience, come into New Zealand, get Government support, promise the world and literally come apart at every challenge."

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining chairman Phil McCabe said "the biggest seabed mining experiment in the world" had failed.

"The EPA was right when it rejected this shonky application for an awful proposal that would destroy the local environment, and the company has finally made the right decision by walking away."

However, it may not be so clear-cut with TTR's chief executive, Tim Crossley, signalling the company was still considering its options, including submitting a new proposal.

McCabe said the economics of the project at best were dodgy, and the benefits to New Zealand tiny.

"This should send a strong message to the Government and to investors that seabed mining is the wrong horse to back.

"It is now time that they considered our call for a moratorium on seabed mining in New Zealand waters," he said.

 - Taranaki Daily News

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