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KASM are a spontaneous community-based action group, who strongly oppose any non-essential seabed mining.


KASM are a spontaneous community-based action group, who strongly oppose any non-essential seabed mining.

Our objectives are to raise public awareness of current proposals to mine the New Zealand seabed and coastline, educate and inform the public as to the consequences of those proposals, and ensure that current and future governments stop considering these and any future 
seabed mining operations.

Our goal is to ensure that New Zealanders understand what is happening around them, so that they may make properly informed decisions on environmental matters that affect these unique, and much loved marine and coastal environments.


KASM is a vehicle to help coastal residents to learn about any current and future proposals, and to illustrate the deep public opposition to these type of operations. We aim to protect and preserve Aotearoa's unique areas of coastline for future generations to enjoy.

The West Coast Ironsands is the largest in a range of targets for industry, but it is by no means the only one. Sand is daily being extracted in vast quantities in a number of coastal sites across the country, for use in concrete, abrasives and glass; and as a source of gold and other minerals.

Our watchlist of cases includes any instances of sand or minerals taken from the NZ foreshore and seabed.


We are a non-political, non-profit organisation, funded by membership subscriptions and donations, whose opinions reflect wider public sentiment.


KASM are an incorporated society and our subscriber base includes people from right across the motu. While most members are committed to a range of different causes, KASM has a solitary focus – proposals to mine the foreshore and seabed of New Zealand.


In 2004, as the Labour Government’s Foreshore and Seabed legislation first came into being, a wave of prospecting permits were issued to several companies hoping to exploit the ironsand reserves in the west coast seabed.

The town of Raglan was the first to react, due to a unique relationship between iwi and the local community. Experienced ocean folk, including surfers and fishermen and women, immediately recognised the threat to the entire west coast posed by the scale of potential mining operations.

They were stunned at the lack of regulation or standards surrounding these proposals, and realised that it would be up to them to protect their own backyard. As a result KASM grew and was founded.


KASM works alongside many partners and organisations to increase collective awareness and action around sea bed mining.

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2 million years ago

Onshore beach and dune deposits and offshore marine deposits of Titanomagnetite ironsand are formed along 480 km of the North Island coastline, from the Kaipara Harbour, southwards to Whanganui.


The first ultimately doomed attempts to smelt ironsand are made in 1849, on the northern coast of the Awhitu peninsula, but the high titanium content and fine grain size defeat traditional blast furnace technology.

Post WW2

Following WW2, new steel making technology in the form of the direct reduction kiln and electric arc furnace was applied to the ironsands by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and others.


The New Zealand Steel Investigating Company is formed using taxpayers money, with the objective of determining the technical and economic feasibility of manufacturing steel using ironsand.


Following successful trials of the newly developed direct reduction technology, a process was refined to produce sponge iron from ironsand concentrate, with sub-bituminous Waikato coal as a reductant, and Te Kuiti limestone as a flux.


A steel mill is commissioned by New Zealand Steel Ltd, at Glenbrook, to use ironsand from the Waikato North Head deposit to produce 150,000 t of steel per year.


Mining operations established at Waipipi for export of titanomagnetite concentrate to Japanese steelmakers.


Mining operations established at Taharoa for export of titanomagnetite concentrate to Japanese steelmakers.


Further refinement of the process occurred throughout the 1980s leading to

the construction of expanded production facilities at Glenbrook, commencing in 1986. The current production capacity of the mill is 700,000 t of which 60% is exported.


Waipipi mine closed


The “Crown Minerals Act 1991” comes into being, replacing the Mines Act, with one of its stated aims “… to allow extraction and selling of Crown owned minerals”.


The “seabed and foreshore issue” begins to unfold in public, arising from an application from Maori to the courts for a ruling on their customary rights and therefore the ownership of the New Zealand seabed and foreshore. Waitangi Tribunal hears claim WAI 1071.

11 May 2004

Iron Ore NZ Ltd, is registered in Christchurch for Rutherford, John G, a lawyer from Christchurch (former director until 22.04.2005: HANNA, James A from Blenheim NZ), Co Reg. No. 1511587”… Christchurch solicitor John Rutherford, who is the New Zealand lawyer representing the group, says he cannot name the client organisation he represents for confidentiality reasons at this stage …”

10 Nov 2004

Iron Ore NZ Ltd applies to the Department of Crown Minerals (Ministry of Economic Development) for a Prospecting Permit for iron ore sand on 1,269 sq km of seabed along the Taranaki coast.

24 Nov 2004

The Foreshore and Seabed Act (2004) is passed. 
This act redefines the title to the seabed and removes the possibility of any Maori challenge to seabed mining, in New Zealand courts. This is also the Act that is portrayed as protecting the foreshore and seabed for all Kiwis.

10 Jan 2005

Black Sand Exploration Ltd applies for an Exploration Permit to the Crown Minerals Department (Ministry of Economic Development) for iron ore sand covering an area of 3,617 sq km along the coast from Taranaki to Kaipara Harbour. This application, together with the one from Iron Ore NZ Ltd (above) now means that the West Coast of the North Island is covered from south of New Plymouth to north of the Kaipara Harbour, from the low water line 18 km out to sea. 4,887 square kilometers – an area eight times the size of Lake Taupo.

17 Jan 2005

The “Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004” and the “Resource Management (Foreshore and Seabed) Amendment Act 2004” comes into force. Now the Crown owns foreshore and seabed and legally can grant permits for prospecting, exploration and mining operations.

09 Feb 2005

The first media reports and public announcement about seabed mining appears in the The Waikato Times “… Ernst & Young spokesman Aaron Gilmore, who is overseeing the application for Project All Black ( “Black Sand Exploration Ltd” = “Best Quality of Life Pty.” – editor), said it could earn the Crown tens of millions of dollars in taxes and royalties …”. This information only became known when Crown Minerals, fulfilling minimum obligations in the Crown Minerals Act, contacted Tainui by post to inform them about the planned operation, regarding wahi tapu (sacred sites) areas.

21 Feb 2005

Prospecting Permit for “Iron Ore NZ Ltd” granted by Crown Minerals : “Permit No. 39287, area: 1269.79 sq km, district: Non Territorial, years: 2.

25 May 2005

KASM is formed in Raglan during a vocal public meeting at the Raglan Church Hall.

April 2005

“Iron Ore NZ Ltd” starts a permitted prospecting operation for iron sand offshore Taranaki.

11 May 2005

Jim Anderton (Minister for Economic Development) states in a letter to KASM: “…there is currently no proposal before the crown to mine these sands, nor do I see one to mine in the foreseeable future …”

May 2005

“Iron Ore NZ Ltd” begins its prospecting operation on 1,269 sq km seabed off North Taranaki.

04 Jun 2005

“Iron Ore NZ Ltd” prospecting operation is completed said Mr. J Rutherford, director and single shareholder. The prospectors have discovered huge layers of iron rich sand in only 20 to 60 metres depth, 2 to 3 kilometers out in the Tasman Sea. Iron Ore NZ Ltd mentions “up to 300 jobs” and “billions of $ revenue” in Taranaki. (Taranaki Daily News 04.06.2005)

24 Nov 2005

Current Affairs Programme Closeup on TV One
Watch in our Video Gallery

21 Dec 2005                        

The Associate Minister of Energy, Hon Harry Duynhoven, releases the Draft Replacement Minerals Programme for Minerals and Coal for a forty working day statutory public and iwi consultation process.

Feb 2006

Submission to Review of the Draft Minerals Programme (2005) – Crown Minerals Act (1991)

24 Feb 2007

KASM submits a petition to the House of Representatives. A total of 15,113 signatories supported the petition requesting Parliament to change the law to remove the possibility of ironsand mining of the seabed.

19 Jul 2007

KASM provides further submission to Draft Minerals Programme (2005). The Local Government and Environment Select Committee to Draft Minerals Programme requests further explanation in person

24 Jul 2007

Documentary Current Affairs – Maori Issues Marae on TV One
Watch in our Video Gallery 

16 Aug 2007

KASM Presentation to Parliamentary Select Committee in person

Nov 2007

KASM submits to Ministry for the Environment re: ‘improving regulation of environmental effects in NZ’s Exclusive Economic Zone’.

May/June 2008            

Select committee responds May 2008 re Review  of  the Draft Minerals  Programme (2005) – Crown Minerals  Act (1991). KASM Kaitiaki Programme Documentary on Maori TV. KASM submits to the proposed New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2008 Sections 49 and 57 of the Resource Management Act 1991

24 April 2009

Oral submission to Foreshore and Seabed Legislative Review delivered

May 2009

KASM sends a formal submission to Foreshore and Seabed Legislative Review, explaining our concerns about these proposals.


KASM joins the “2Precious2Mine” Coalition


KASM registers as interested party with Crown Mineral Dept

September 2011

KASM presentation in Taranaki.

Oct 2011

KASM presents to recreational fishing clubs in Whanganui.


KASM makes a formal approach to Trans Tasman Resources to register as Interested / Affected Party.

10 March 2012

Raglan Maui Dolphin Day.

11 2012 March

Trans Tasman Resources and Petroleum and Minerals presentation at Poi Hakena Marae.

11 March 2012

KASM Silent Protest March in Raglan township after Trans Tasman Resources and Petroleum and Minerals presentation to Marae.

14 March 2012

Trans Tasman Resources applies for permit extension.

July 2012

Kasm and Raglan Positive Perspective unite to produce a short film expressing concern and opposition to seabed mining proposals.

August 2012

Participated in Hands Across the Sands with 100 people making a silent visual display of their intentions.

Through the years 2005 -2012 KASM continued to inform the public about the issues surrounding seabed sand mining. KASM fielded requests for information from a wide community audience; By invitation KASM addressed many primary and secondary schools; Supported other coastal communities in their efforts to avert seabed mining in their area. KASM responded to requests from newspapers, magazines, radio and television for interviews about the issue as well as disseminating information at large gatherings such as boat shows, festivals, and sporting activities.

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