Chatham Rock seeks another $1.25M to pursue new seabed mining licence in NZ

Chatham Rise

Pattrick Smellie | NZ News UK

Would-be seabed miner Chatham Rock Phosphate is looking to raise a further $1.25 million as its key staff take pay cuts and the company pursues both legislation changes and a new mining consent under the controversial new law governing economic activity in New Zealand’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone.

The announcement comes as the Environmental Defence Society describes as “fanciful” reported expectations that there will be either a “wholesale or urgent review of the EEZ Act” following the rejection of CRP’s application to mine phosphate nodules on the Chatham Rise, some 400 kilometres east of Christchurch.

Despite spending more than $30 million on research and development of the proposal, an expert decision-making committee appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority rejected the application, citing too much uncertainty about the environmental impacts of the project, particularly on marine corals in the area.

In a statement, NZAX-listed CRP said it had “no intention” of abandoning the project and it was “increasingly likely” it would lodge a fresh application for a mining consent.

“However, before it makes a final decision to do so, CRP intends to continue to work with the EPA to seek clarity on the interpretation of the EEZ legislation and the EPA’s policies and procedures for managing the consent process,” said Castle.

“CRP is also contributing where possible to the discussions about changes to the EEZ legislation and will incorporate any changes in our plans.”

Environment Minister Nick Smith told Parliament on Feb. 19 there would be “sensible finessing” of the EEZ regime.

The EDS chairman, Gary Taylor, said in a statement that “the idea that government would jump when CRP stamped its feet in annoyance at a rejection of its consent application is fanciful: New Zealand is not a banana republic.”

CRP was the second seabed mining application to be rejected since the EEZ regime came into force in 2013. TransTasman Resources, which sought to mine ironsands from the seafloor in the southern Taranaki Bight was also turned down on the grounds of uncertain environmental impacts, having spent around $70 million on its project. TTR is also considering a fresh application.

Taylor said it was “a reasonable expectation that there will be a review, that it will be on a measured timeline and that it won’t involve tinkering with the purpose section. New Zealand clearly needs its new EEZ Act to work well, it is first generation law and there will be lessons from its operation as time passes.”

Castle said CRP would also look to work up a similar project offshore from the Namibian coast to reduce its exposure to a single project and that the company had been approached about other opportunities both land and sea-floor phosphate mining opportunities.

CRP shares closed today at 1.9 cents apiece, having fallen 93.4 percent over the past 12 months. Castle acknowledged the proposed capital-raising would be “highly dilutive” at the current share price, and would prioritise existing shareholders.

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Australia’s criminal role in Bougainville war exposed in revealing interview

Image: The signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement August 30th 2001 with the then Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mekere Morauta (3rd L) and president of the Bougainville Peoples' Congress Joseph Kabui (2nd L). (Reuters, file photo)

The signing of the Bougainville Peace Agreement August 30th 2001 with the then Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Mekere Morauta (3rd L) and president of the Bougainville Peoples’ Congress Joseph Kabui (2nd L). (Reuters)

Bougainville: the forgotten war

ABC Late Night Live

There are moves to re-open the Bougainville Copper Limited mine that was at the centre of the decade long conflict in that province during the 1990s. There are estimates of 20,000 people killed during this time and many more today carry with them the atrocities they witness. Over the years evidence has emerged detailing how state corporate decisions turned into state corporate crimes.

Listen to the audio

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Watut Union wants more time for Environment Consultation

DEC only allowing 28 days for community submissions

DEC has not given communities copies of the proposed environmental plan

Previous payments for environmental damage as low as K4 and K11 per family 

Sylvester Gawi | EMTV

The Union of Watut River communities in Morobe province have expressed concerns over the environmental damages that may happen when the Wafi mine comes into operation.

They claimed that damages done by mine tailings from the Hidden Valley mine in previous years were not compensated well by the Morobe Mining Joint Venture.

They are now calling on the Department of Environment and conservation to give enough time for the impacted communities to be consulted before an Environmental permit is approved.

The Union is saying that the 20 days given by the Department of Environment and Conservation to review Wafi mine’s environmental permit is inadequate.

They are now asking for the timeframe to be extended until the end of this month, to give enough time for them to consult the communities in the impacted areas of the mine.

President of the Union of Watut River communities, Reuben Mete, says they cant allow the permit to be approved without consulting the people.

“We want an expension of time so that the people of Upper Watut, Mumeng, Wampar and Salamaua LLGs be given ample time for discussions on issues that will be affecting them regarding the Wafi gold mine,” says Mete.

The union claimed that in previous years, communities affected by tailings from the Hidden Valley mine were not compensated well.

Payment documents from previous incidents revealed that locals were paid as low as K4 and K11 for damages done to their plants and food gardens.

What the union wants to see is impacted areas; especially riverine communities are consulted and fully informed on compensation methods before a permit is approved.

Chairman of Mining in the Morobe Provincial Executive Council, Okam Paton, has denied being consulted by the Department of Environment and Conservation.

He is expected to bring this matter to Tutumang’s attention when they convene this Thursday.

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Porgera Mine effects probe

Niugini News | Pacific Mining Watch

AN independent specialist team is in Enga to help in the investigation of environmental damage caused by the Porgera gold mine.

The team will investigate outstanding benefits claims by the people of Porgera and Enga.

The team was led by landowner groups, including shareholder and chief landowner Jonathan Paraia.

“We have brought in experts to help us so that Enga will follow formal procedures to deal with the issue rather than weapons like it happened in Bougainville over the Panguna mine some years ago,” he said.

He said the landowners’ plea for support from the National Government “have fallen on deaf ears”.

“There is no bridge between the National Government, the people of Porgera and the mining company,” Paraia said.

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Momis just another puppet for Australia and the mining industry?

Momis Image

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March 5, 2015 · 1:42 pm

Calls for seabed mining moratorium in NZ

seabed mining protest

STRONG MESSAGE: Protesters campaign against seabed mining at a gathering at Raglan, Waikato.

We need to look below the surface

Phil McCabe | The Domion Post 

In the wake of two out of two failed seabed mining applications in less than a year, the sensible move for our Government at this point would be to place a moratorium on seabed mining in New Zealand waters.

The first Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision denying an ironsands proposal off Patea, Taranaki, last June stated that, overall, the application was premature. And that is precisely the point.

Moratoria have been placed in both the Northern Territory of Australia and Namibia to allow for more information to emerge and time for the people and authorities to better understand the implications of seabed mining.

Seabed mining has grown considerably in the consciousness of New Zealanders. Before the double denial from the EPA on the first two applications to mine for minerals in our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), awareness was restricted to those pushing for – and against – the novel industry establishing itself off our shores.

On the one hand we have a Government standing with open arms bellowing, “Haere mai, we’ve got minerals, come get ‘em world”, and its call has been answered by the few who smelled the gold in them hills, pouring millions of dollars on the application process, only to be denied by the very regime that invited them in.

Then we have coastal communities, affected iwi and existing users of the marine environment uniting and spending countless hours and considerable resources fighting to protect their values, way of life and existing livelihoods.

The reality is that it’s an extremely complex situation and, it seems, no-one is prepared to back down at this point. There is too much at stake.

It cannot be denied that mining for minerals from the seabed, as proposed by the two companies, is destructive.

Scientifically, we have only scratched the surface when it comes to understanding the complexities of our marine environment, let alone what the effects would be if the untested activity of large-scale mining were introduced.

And no-one in the world has done seabed mining of this kind yet. The science and the engineering are new, and untested. Should we be the guinea pigs?

Our EEZ is massive: 20 times our land area and it is poorly understood. But the Government should not be relying solely on industry to fill the information vacuum. Its opening up of these areas was premature.

The EPA, in its Chatham Rock decision, said “it is incontestably the case that there remained significant gaps in the data and information provided about the consent area’s marine environment as well as uncertainty about the impact of the proposal on existing interests and the environment”.

It is time for the national discussion that one would expect for an issue that touches the core of New Zealand values and is of such potential significance to our environment and economy.

The Environmental Defence Society has called for a spatial planning exercise for our EEZ. I imagine that would be a considerable process but it would go a long way to resolving many of the unresolved issues that have surfaced.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, supported by by other groups, called for a moratorium on seabed mining in October 2013. In light of these decisions, it makes more sense than ever, offering time for a civil and proper process to take place.

The other options for Government would be to do nothing, which would be fine by us, as the bar has clearly been set high enough to stop applications in the absence of information.

Or it could bend to commercial pressure and roll back its legislation to favour industry, lower environmental standards and reduce the ability for we, the people, to have a say in the health of our oceans. That would be entirely unacceptable.

Phil McCabe is a tourism business owner from Raglan, and chairman of community group Kiwis Against Seabed Mining.

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Momis blames ‘tok ples’ for misunderstanding over use of force

Use of force to Open Mine

Anthony Kaybing | New Dawn

A recent statement in the blogs site Papua New Guinea Mine Watch has come under fire following its misquotations of a speech given by Autonomous Bougainville Government President Grand Chief Dr. John Momis.

The scathing report gives a tainted view of the President’s outlook on the sensitive Panguna Mine issue with the report implying that the President is hell bent on reopening the mine by force and also expressing his dissatisfaction of the Panguna Landowners Association.

The actual speech given by President Momis during the first mass by newly ordained priest Fr. Ambrose Kakatai at the Tabago Parish, Buin District on Sunday 15th February 2015 contradicts the report at so many levels.
President Momis’ speech was simply about the responsibility that Bougainvilleans must now undertake to prepare themselves for the coming referendum and their responsibility to honor the Bougainville Peace Agreement.

Parts of the President’s speech were made in the Telei (Buin) dialect as the majority of the people at the event were from the Buin District.

The part of the President’s speech that was misconstrued may have been when he explained the ABG’s continued consultative approach to resolving the Panguna issue.

“The ABG continues to consult our people on the Panguna Mine’s reopening, because of the respect for our people the mine will not be reopened by force,” direct quote of the President’s speech made in the Telei Dialect.

This quote is the only one in which President Momis mentions anything about the use of force to reopen the mine.

The other allegation raised in the report on President Momis’ speech was his “criticism” of the Panguana Landowners Association which again contradicts the actual speech.

President Momis said on the same speech that the ABG was working closely with important stakeholders such as the Panguna Landowners to resolve the issue and that the government had already created a channel of communication with the Mekamui Traibal Government of Unity who at first were suspicious of the ABG’s interest in the Panguna Mine.

An observer noted that the publishing of such derogatory reports is only to derail the progress the ABG has made in resolving the Panguna issue and on the eve of the ABG Elections in June this was just a smear campaign against President Momis and his cabinet.

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