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Seabed mining clears conservation hurdle

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 27/10/2016

The Department of Conservation will not oppose a bid to mine ironsands fromthe seabed off the Taranaki coast.

It said on Thursday miner Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd had listened to its concerns regarding a revised application to mine sand containing heavy concentrations of iron in a 66sq km area off Patea.

The miner reapplied in August after its original submission more than two years ago was turned down.

"DOC and its independent experts reviewed the modified application, provided TTRL with comments and requested amendments to the draft conditions to address potential adverse effects on the marine environment," the department said in a statement.

"TTRL accepted all the revised conditions and amendments."

A decision making committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority will now consider the application.

DOC's decision no to lodge a submission clears a significant hurdle for the bid, which still faces some community opposition.

This includes an iwi-organised petition signed by more than 6000 people, which was presented in parliament in September and called for a moratorium in seabed mining.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes accepted the petition from Ngati Ruanui representatives and said seabed mining was too risky because it "involves sucking up tonnes of seabed, extracting the iron ore, and then dumping it back".

TTR says the dredging area for its project, between 22-36km offshire, is within a vast expanse of sand exposed to significant wave and tidal action and with no significant marine features.

It wants to extract up to 50 million tonnes of ironsands each year.

It says the project will create 1650 jobs and add $350 million to the national economy.

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