The international website maritime-executive reported this week that the High Court quashed the Environmental Protection Authority’s green light for Trans-Tasman Resources’ (TTR) seafloor ironsands mining operation off the coast of Pātea, in south Taranaki.
The EPA had granted the company consent to dig up 50 million tonnes of the South Taranaki Bight seabed in a 66 square kilometre area for 35 years to recover 5,000t of iron ore per annum.
The traditional alarmist group on anything mining, Forest & Bird claimed this mining activity would kill everything on the sea floor and severely disrupt the habitat of blue whales and other sound sensitive creatures.
The High Court agreed with Forest & Bird that TTR' risk management model was actually as Forest & Bird claimed “adaptive management.”
Justice Peter Churchman called it a narrow interpretation of the law by the EPA's Decision Making Committee that was inconsistent with the purpose of the Exclusive Economic Zone Act and inconsistent with a policy of precautionary decision-making.
The website reported Trans-Tasman as saying any impact would not be significant, that the size of the mined area would be small compared with the extent of the surrounding ocean and that it was this was hardly a pristine environment, due to the passage of ships and drilling for oil and gas.
An appeal by TTR was reported as likely.