Andrew Owen | Taranaki Daily News | 12 December 2016
The group fighting plans to mine millions of tonnes of sand off the South Taranaki coast is claiming record numbers of people have backed its campaign.
Monday was the final day for public submissions on Trans Tasman Resources’ bid to mine iron ore from 50 million tonnes of sand in a 66 square kilometre area off the coast of Patea, a move all eight Taranaki iwi have opposed.
Campaign group Kiwis Against Seabed Mining claimed it and Greenpeace would achieve a record 17,000 submissions against the plans when the 5pm deadline passed, ahead of an Environmental Protection Agency hearing set to take place next year.
“Last time Trans Tasman Resources tried – and failed – to gain approval for a similar proposal, the EPA received more than 4,600 submissions against it – which was a record at that time,” said KASM chairperson Phil McCabe.
“We have blown that record out of the water, proving that opposition to seabed mining has grown exponentially.
“Our focus now turns to the expert evidence against this proposal, and the hearing itself.
“We cannot let this proposal go ahead, as it would create a precedent for other mining proposals, not only on the North Island’s West Coast, but also a proposal off Waihi Beach.
“New Zealand would be the first place in the world to allow seabed mining on such a large scale, but it’s very clear this flies in the face of public opinion.”
TTR has claimed allowing the mining to go ahead would create 1666 jobs, including 299 in South Taranaki and Whanganui and 700 in the region, although opponents dispute its figures.