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Ironsands bid 'same old car': fishers

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/02/2017

A second bid to mine ironsands from the ocean floor off the coast of Whanganui is "the same old car with a new lick of paint", say fisheries groups who fear for their resource.

Fisheries Inshore NZ, the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen, Talley's, Southern Inshore Fisheries Management and the Cloudy Bay Clams group of companies are among those opposed to Trans Tasman's reapplication to mine the resource.

The original bid was rejected in 2013 because of a lack of information about environmental impacts.

"They have serious reservations in light of their expert evidence that TTR's most recent application is simply the same old car with a new lick of paint," Robert Makgill, a lawyer for the fisheries submitters, told an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on Thursday.

They were concerned about the adequacy of TTR's assessment of potential effects and it had not established enough baseline information to determine fishing would not be harmed, he said.

Origin Energy Resources Kupe NZ, Forest & Bird, Greenpeace and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining also oppose the mining.

Origin Energy representative Bronwyn Carruthers also says there isn't enough new evidence to support the mining.

There wasn't "certainty or comfort" the project wouldn't impact its infrastructure, which overlaps the same area, she said.

A potential collision or impact on the Kupe pipeline, umbilical or platform could cause losses of $1 million a day or losses in the billions of dollars if damage is beyond repair.

TTR, which is 55 per cent New Zealand owned, proposes extracting 50 million tonnes of seabed material a year in order to export up to five million tonnes of ironsand per year for up to 35 years.

Once the ironsand is extracted, the remaining material will be returned to the seabed.

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