Iwi object to offshore mining plan

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 30/01/2014

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An application to start mining off the Patea coast has been officially opposed by iwi.

On Tuesday, Ngaruahine lodged their opposition with the Environmental Protection Authority against Trans-Tasman Resources Limited's (TTR) application to begin mining in the area.

TTR has applied to the authority for a marine consent to undertake an ironsand mining project in the South Taranaki Bight, about 36 kilometres offshore of Patea.

It proposes to mine iron ore from the seabed and process it aboard a floating vessel before export, with plans for up to 50 million tonnes of seabed material per year to be taken over a 20-year period.

However, Ngaruahine spokeswoman Daisy Noble said iwi would be adversely affected if the application got the go-ahead.

She said the proposed mining affected iwi's ability to look after the area.

"That's totally unacceptable to us," she said.

Ms Noble said another concern iwi had was around the state the marine area would be left in should mining be allowed to take place.

"It's going to set back the health and wealth of the ocean."

She said this was the first time anything like this had been proposed in their area. "It's a new experiment and I don't want us to be the first."

Submissions regarding the application closed on January 28. A hearing date should be set by February 10.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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