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Seabed mining company drops appeal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A "victory for common sense" was Kiwis Against Seabed Mining’s reaction today to Trans Tasman Resources’ news that it will drop its attempt to reverse the EPA’s rejection of its seabed mining application.

Trans Tasman Resources today said it would no longer proceed with its appeal against the EPA’s decision to turn down its application to mine black sand in an operation that would have seen them dig up 50 million tones of the seabed a year for 20 years in a 65sqkm area off South Taranaki, a known feeding ground for blue whales and habitat of endangered maui’s dolphin.

"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," said KASM chairperson Phil McCabe.

KASM spent years alerting people in communities up and down the North Island’s West Coast about the threats from seabed mining, and they turned out in their thousands to send the EPA a record number of submissions (4800), with 99% opposing.

But KASM said instead of blaming the opposition to the proposal, or even the EPA, TTR should look to the Government.

"Energy Minister Simon Bridges has been a cheerleader for this extractive industry, and the Government passed legislation to enable it in New Zealand waters and gave this foreign-owned company a massive subsidy of up to $25 million

"The economics, at best, were dodgy, and the benefits to New Zealand tiny, compared with the destruction this activity would have wreaked on our environment and .

"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.

"The failure of TTR’s $60m proposal is actually a good thing for New Zealand’s economy. It provides clarity for investors and a pivot point to realign investment capital toward more appropriate proposals that will enhance rather than detract from our international reputation."

The decision today would also be a blow for the rest of the seabed mining industry that was waiting in the wings to start mining black sand up the entire west coast of the North Island, which would have been, McCabe said "the biggest seabed mining experiment in the world."

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