24 Aug 2016

Company makes new iron sand mining attempt

2:21 pm on 24 August 2016

A plan to mine iron sands off the South Taranaki coast is back on the table.

Mt Taranaki

Trans-Tasman Resources has renewed its attempt for a consent to mine iron sands off the South Taranaki coast. Photo: 123RF

Trans-Tasman Resources yesterday lodged an application with the Environmental Protection Authority for a marine consent to mine almost 66 sq km of seabed off the coast.

A similar application was turned down in 2014 after a lengthy hearing before the authority.

At the time, the authority's decision-making committee expressed concern about potential environmental effects and the impact on fishing and iwi interests.

It said it was not satisfied that adverse effects could be avoided, remedied or mitigated.

Many people objected at the time to what they feared would be damaging effects on animals and plants, including by what they said would be an ash plume created when sediment was dumped back on the seabed.

The company said then that it was confident about the science.

It has since undertaken extra scientific and engineering work which it said would address all the previous concerns.

In a statement issued yesterday, Trans Tasman Resources said the seafloor in the area to be dredged was situated within a vast expanse of sand.

It experienced major wave and tidal action and had no significant marine features.

The company hoped to extract up to 50 million tonnes of iron sand each year, creating 300 jobs locally and bringing total export earnings for New Zealand to around $300 million a year.