Iron sands hearing moves to New Plymouth – Environmental Protection Authority


Public hearings on a proposal to mine iron sands off the coast of Taranaki move to New Plymouth for four days from today (March 6) and will run until Thursday, March 9.

The hearings, overseen by a decision-making committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority, will hear a range of local and regional submissions in relation to an application by Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd.

Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd has applied for permission to extract and process up to 50 million tonnes of seabed material each year, for up to 35 years, exporting up to 5 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate annually. The remaining sediment (around 45 million tonnes a year) would be returned to the seabed in the same area from which it was extracted.

Overall, the application covers 65.7 square kilometres of seabed in an area around 22 to 36 kilometres offshore, in waters between 20 and 42 metres deep.

Siobhan Quayle, General Manager of EPA’s Climate, Land and Oceans Group says: “The EPA is responsible for managing the environmental effects of restricted activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf. Our role in the public process helps ensure that decisions on these matters are made with the best available information.”

The hearing began in Wellington on February 16 and is set to reconvene in the capital on Wednesday, March 15.

A full heading schedule, analysis of submissions, advice and reports provided at the request of the decision-making committee are all available on the EPA website.

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It is the second time that Trans-Tasman Resources Ltd has applied for marine consents and marine discharge consents for activities associated with extracting and processing iron sand in the South Taranaki Bight. The first, in 2013, was declined.


Frequently asked questions

Q: What is the decision-making committee?

A: The EPA Board has appointed a decision-making committee to hear the application by TTRL for marine consents and marine discharge consents. Biographies of committee members, a register of interests, as well as all their directions, minutes and correspondence relating to the proposal can be found here.

Q: Where can I find out more about the application and the hearing process?

A: Visit our website, here.

Q: What is the EPA’s role in the application by TTRL application?

A: The EPA is part of an integrated regulatory regime for managing activities in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.

The EPA is responsible for managing the effects of certain restricted activities on the environment in the EEZ and Continental Shelf under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012. The Act promotes sustainable management of the natural resources this area.

Our role is to consider applications for marine consents, monitor compliance with the EEZ Act and any conditions on marine consents, carry out enforcement and promote public awareness of the requirements of the Act and its associated regulations.