The Environmental Protection Authority has accepted Chatham Rock Phosphate’s formal Marine Consent application as being complete.
CRP lodged its application for a marine consent to mine phosphate nodules from the Chatham Rise on 14 May. This acceptance step begins a six-month process, starting with the EPA publicly notifying the application and appointing a decision-making committee to consider the application.
The completeness process involved the EPA assessing the content of CRP’s application, which includes a 452-page narrative document plus 35 appendices covering all of the scientific research CRP has undertaken over the past four years.
The application, representing four years’ work and $25 million in investment, is the second seabed mining proposal to be considered under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act, and is the only major licence CRP now needs, having gained a mining permit for its phosphate extraction project in December.
Managing Director Chris Castle said it was another significant milestone. “The EPA has a time-bound process that enables anyone with an interest to have input. Having certainty around the process and time frames is very important and we really value the transparency of the regime.”
“Throughout the past few months we have continued to work with the groups that have shown an interest in our project. They are familiar with the content of the application and have had time to think about what we are proposing and to test our approach and raise issues as they have been identified.”
CRP’s phosphate resource, located on the seabed of the Chatham Rise, offers fertiliser security for New Zealand’s primary industry, has big export and import substitution potential, as well as environmental benefits, making it a project of national significance.
It is anticipated that the full application content will be publicly available from 12 June on the EPA website, and also via a link on rockphosphate.co.nz. People can make submissions during June and July (the dates will be confirmed by the EPA shortly) and a public hearing will be held in September and October.