The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has refused an application by Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited (CRP) for a marine consent to mine phosphorite nodules on the Chatham Rise.
The decision, which was made by a Decision-making Committee (DMC) appointed by the EPA Board, was released this morning.
EPA General Manager Applications & Assessment Sarah Gardner said the DMC had concluded that mining would cause significant and permanent adverse effects on the existing benthic environment on the Chatham Rise. This included communities dominated by protected stony corals which were potentially unique to the Chatham Rise and which the DMC concluded were rare and vulnerable ecosystems.
“However, the DMC found that the destructive effects of the extraction process, coupled with the potentially significant impact of the deposition of sediment on areas adjacent to the mining blocks and on the wider marine ecosystem, could not be mitigated by any set of conditions or adaptive management regime that might be reasonably imposed.”
Ms Gardner said the DMC had also concluded that the economic benefit to New Zealand of the proposal would be modest at best.
So, significant and un-mitigateable damage to the environment for little economic benefit. Sounds like a no-brainer. Not that Chatham Rock can see that - instead they're whining about how not being allowed to wantonly destroy the environment sends a negative signal to business. The question is whether the government will listen to them and gut the EEZ Act along with the RMA.