It’s the place where the world’s largest whales feed and the smallest dolphins live, so why would we risk it with experimental seabed mining?
Submissions are currently open on Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) application to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight, TTR’s second attempt second attempt after the first one was turned down. The submission period is only open for twenty days under the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) rules, and it closes next Friday.
Last time this foreign-owned company tried to mine the seabed, 4800 people submitted against it and the EPA rejected the application. Much like rust, TTR is back again and applying for consent to suck up 50 million tonnes of seabed, extract the iron ore, and dump 45 million tonnes of sediment back. There are huge unknowns on the marine ecosystem and even on local surf breaks.
Right now, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) has taken the EPA to court over its refusal to release blacked-out documents related to TTR’s plans for this huge mining scheme off the South Taranaki coast. I hope this important information can be made public.
Seabed mining is a controversial new activity. The two applications to date, by TTR and Chatham Rock Phosphate, were both rejected by the EPA because of environmental impacts and scientific uncertainties. One thing that has stuck in my head from the last process was the Rumsfeldian quote “the uncertainties around the uncertainties are uncertain”. This is an entirely new field, apart from a little shallow water diamond mining overseas. Seabed mining should be considered a novel experimental activity and I support a moratorium on it to allow more scientific investigation.
In the meantime, I worry that TTR may get the approval from the EPA.
If you love our environment and the incredible species that inhabit it, say no to mining 66 square kilometres off our coast and make a submission. You don’t have to be an expert, just someone who cares about protection.