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TTR abandons seabed mining application, KASM labels it a cowardly move to get onto fast-track

press release

Kiwis Against Seabed mining today slammed Australian owned would-be seabed miner Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) for abandoning its application to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to mine the seabed of the South Taranaki Bight. The company has today informed the EPA it is withdrawing its application.

Cindy Baxter, Chair, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, says: 

“This is an utterly cowardly and cynical move designed to get around proper scrutiny of this seabed mining project’s obvious failings. The Supreme Court quashed the 2017 consent and sent TTR back to the EPA to prove it would cause “no material harm’” 

“There was absolutely no way TTR could prove that it wouldn’t cause material harm to the South Taranaki Bight if it were to dig up 50 million tonnes of the seabed every year for 35 years. So to avoid a strong ruling against it, the company has opted instead for the political route.

“In good news, this company now has no consent to mine the seabed, as that consent was quashed by the Supreme Court.  But it’s now very clear that TTR’s putting all its eggs into the fast-track basket, relying on political lobbying rather than good science to get this project over the line.  And the science was against them. 

“The only way this company got its consent in 2017 was by leaning on the last National Government to change the way the EPA decision making process went. Two of the four members of its panel wanted to refuse consent, but the EPA gave the chair the casting vote. “This company is trying all the tricks in the book to evade the reality: seabed mining at this kind of scale would turn the South Taranaki Bight into an industrial zone. There’s another 800 square kilometres TTR  wants to mine alongside this first application.”

The company withdrew after the Environmental Protection Authority commissioned new evidence about the sediment plume, after a KASM and Greenpeace expert raised questions about the company’s modelling. 

“This company has wasted taxpayers’ funds, as well as those of Iwi and community and environmental groups,” said KASM lawyer Duncan Currie. “It's time to ban this dangerous and destructive  industry.“

The EPA hearings had just finished hearing the company’s evidence, and KASM and Greenpeace’s experts had just begun to give their evidence.  The hearings were to be held over three days in April, May and possibly would have gone through to June. 

KASM called on the public to submit against the government’s proposed fast-track legislation. Submissions are open until 11.59pm on Friday, 19 April 2024.  “We cannot let the government bypass democracy through fast-tracking obviously destructive projects like this that have been rejected by the highest court in the land,” added Baxter. 

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