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Final battle to prevent South Taranaki Bight seabed mine hits Supreme Court

Updated: Dec 15, 2021



Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) and Greenpeace will be in the Supreme Court today for the last battle in a long fight to oppose a seabed mine in the South Taranaki Bight.

The groups are appearing, alongside iwi, other environmental groups and fishing interests, to defend their resounding judgement from the Court of Appeal last year which upheld the High Court’s earlier decision to quash the EPA’s decision to grant Trans Tasman Resources’ (TTR) consent for seabed mining

TTR is seeking to dig up 50 million tonnes of the South Taranaki Bight every year for 35 years in a 66 square kilometre area, to access five million tonnes of iron ore, and dump the rest back into the ocean.

“It has been a long fight to oppose this mine since the EPA gave it the green light in 2017”, says Cindy Baxter of KASM “This is a precedent-setting case, and it’s important the law is as clear and strong as possible, in order to protect our oceans from damage by future seabed miners. Last year the Court of Appeal found that the environment was the bottom line, sending a powerful message that New Zealand waters are not open for pillage by seabed miners.”

Baxter says KASM is opposing TTR’s application, on behalf of the many thousands of people they represent, as well as on behalf of the marine environment.

“This destructive practice has no place in our waters.”

Greenpeace Campaigner Jessica Desmond says:

“The South Taranaki Bight is home to Aotearoa’s own population of blue whales, the critically endangered Māui dolphin, blue penguins and other ocean taonga. There is no way we should be opening this area to experimental extractive industries – the risk is just too great.”

Desmond also highlighted the enormous effort and cost incurred to communities around the country, who have opposed this mine for years (this is TTR’s second application, with the first being refused by the EPA in 2014)

“It’s not good enough to rely on the energy and resources of community activists, local iwi and environmental groups to protect our marine environment from international mining companies – we hope the new government will ban seabed mining in New Zealand waters.”

The case will be heard over three days between 17-19 November, and the two environmental organisations will be working alongside a range of other groups, including local iwi Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui, the trustees of Te Kaahui Rauru, Forest & Bird, the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Te Ohu Kai Moana and a number of other fisheries interests.

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