Tag Archives: KASM

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining promises to take case to Supreme Court if necessary

KASM chairwoman Cindy Baxter says the previous government’s support for the iron sands project was “very clear’ to the Environmental Protection Agency. Photo: Pullar-Strecker

Tom Pullar-Strecker | Stuff | April 16 2018

One of the lobby groups fighting a decision to approve iron sands mining off the Taranaki coast says it is prepared to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in August approved an application by miner Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) to dredge a billion tonnes of iron sands from the South Taranaki Bight, in a split decision that swung on committee chairman Alick Shaw’s casting vote.

A total of 11 groups with environmental, fishing and Maori interests are appealing the decision at the High Court in Wellington. They are concerned about issues such as the plume from waste material that will be returned to the seabed.

Some have also warned the project would set a precedent for seabed mining elsewhere in New Zealand waters and beyond. 

Cindy Baxter, chairwoman of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) – speaking outside the High Court before proceedings began –  said it was very clear the former National government supported the mining venture. 

She believed that had not been lost on the EPA, which is an independent body.

“The Government changed the legislation to make it easier for it to get through and Callaghan Innovation suddenly gave TTR a big grant when it wasn’t even a New Zealand company,” she said.

The 66 square kilometres off the South Taranaki coast (shown in dark green) where Trans Tasman Resources has applied to mine iron ore.

“This is a company that brought 35 per cent of its shares across from Holland three weeks before its application so it could claim it was a Kiwi company.”

Baxter said she couldn’t say whether the EPA was influenced by the former government’s support for the venture. But “it certainly got that message” and the process it had gone through to approve the mining application was flawed, she said.

Even so, two of the commissioners still voted to reject the mining application, issuing a “strongly dissenting opinion”, she noted.

Baxter said she believed the new government was trying to be “hands off” and was waiting for the outcome of the court challenge.

“I think they are letting the legal process go through. They don’t really want to talk to us about it at the moment – although certainly the Green Party does.”   

Baxter said KASM was prepared to take the court challenge as far as it needed to.

“If we have to, we will take it to the Supreme Court. This is a precedent-setting case. 

“It is the first seabed mining application that has been approved in New Zealand and it would open the flood gates for others around the country.” 

Opponents of the Taranaki iron sands project gather outside the High Court. Photo: Pullar-Strecker

TTR has been contacted for comment. It has previously said the Taranaki Iron Sands project would be “a sustainable and world leading development” that would have little environmental effect and directly employ 463 people, generating about $7 million of royalties for the Crown.

Baxter said seabed mining was basically new internationally, though diamond giant De Beers has vacuumed diamonds from 6000 square kilometres of sea floor off the coast of Namibia.

There are proposals to mine a large area about 500 miles south-east of Hawaii called the Clarion-Clipperton Fracture Zone which Japanese scientists are reported to estimate contains up to 100 billion metric tons of rare-earth deposits.

Southern Cross Cable, which has surveyed a route for a new internet cable between New Zealand, Australia and the United States, has been re-surveying its route to avoid that mining zone.

Greenpeace campaigner Michael Smith said the South Taranaki Bight was a “vital ecosystem” that was home to endangered blue whales and Maui dolphins.

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NZ EPA seabed mining court case a fight for the future

Scoop NZ | April 15, 2018

The future of the South Taranaki Bight lies in the hands of the High Court next week, which will hear appeals against the Environmental Protection Authority’s decision to grant a marine consent to Trans-Tasman Resources’ bid to dig up the seabed for its iron ore.

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), with Greenpeace, is appealing the decision, alongside six other appellants.

The EPA decision was released in August 2017, a year after Trans-Tasman Resources submitted its application to dig up 50 million tonnes of the seabed a year in a 66 square kilometre section of the South Taranaki Bight – for 35 years. A total of 95% will be discharged, resulting in a large sediment plume, to get five million tonnes a year of iron ore. Of the 13,733 submissions (a record) received by the EPA, all but 147 – one percent – were either opposed to the consent or neutral.

“This is a fight for the future of our precious oceans,” said KASM chair Cindy Baxter. “The outcome of this case will set a precedent for a number of other companies waiting in the wings to mine our seabed, in the South Taranaki Bight and beyond. Trans-Tasman has prospecting permits for at least two more in the Bight, and two others around the country.”

“Our Oceans are in distress, and are facing a crisis of marine biodiversity loss. Our oceans provide us vital services, food and livelihoods, as well as oxygen and carbon sequestration when we have healthy ecosystems,” said Michael Smith, a campaigner with Greenpeace New Zealand.

“The South Taranaki Bight is one such vital ecosystem, home to a population of endangered blue whales and Maui dolphins. Protecting its biodiversity is why this case is so important..”

KASM and Greenpeace are appealing on 12 points of law. Among these is the issue of what is called “adaptive management” whereby an activity like seabed mining is allowed to go ahead, adapting the conditions on which it occurs along the way.

“The EPA has set down 109 conditions, but many are still to be developed, such as the effect of seabed mining on marine mammals and seabirds,” said Cindy Baxter. “We are also raising other issues, such as natural justice, the way economic benefits have been calculated, and the role of the precautionary approach.”

The hearing begins at the High Court in Wellington, 10 am, Monday 16 April 2018 and will last for four days.

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Groups prepare for seabed mining hearing in Wellington

There have been a series of protests against consents to mine the South Taranaki seabed. Photo/File

Wanganui Chronicle | 3 April, 2018

It’s good to see so many groups banding together to oppose mining the South Taranaki seabed, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining chairwoman Cindy Baxter says.

The groups will be heard in the Wellington High Court from April 16-19. They include iwi, conservation and fishing interests.

They are appealing against the Environmental Protection Authority’s August 2017 decision to give mining company Trans-Tasman Resources consent to mine iron-sand offshore from Patea.

The consent was narrowly granted. Two of the four-member decision-making committee opposed it and chairman Alick Shaw used his casting vote to grant it.

The hearing will be before High Court Justice Helen Cull, and can only be on points of law. Ms Baxter has about 15 points of law ready for Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM)’s lawyer Davey Salmon to make.

Those points will be shared among the others groups that are appealing.

“We are trying to avoid repetition and not waste the judge’s time.”

The other groups involved in the appeal are the Taranaki-Whanganui Conservation Board, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust, Te Ohu Kai Moana Trustee Limited, Fisheries Inshore New Zealand Ltd, New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fisherman Inc, Talleys Group Ltd, Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company Ltd and Cloudy Bay Clams Ltd, Te Kāhui O Rauru trustees, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc, and Greenpeace of New Zealand Inc appealing in tandem with KASM.

Trans-Tasman Resources has spent $65 million so far on progressing its mining aims. In the South Taranaki Bight it wants to suck up 50 million tonnes of iron-sand a year, exporting the 10 per cent iron ore content and returning the rest to the sea floor.

The mining is to be done across 66 square kilometres, all 22-36km offshore from Patea, in 25-60m of water.

The consents are the first granted in New Zealand for mining in the country’s large exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The company’s website anticipates the first export will take place in 2020.

It says the operation will create 300 local jobs and spend $350m a year on operating costs. Export revenues are expected to be $400m a year.

Trans-Tasman Resources also has a prospecting permit for a long stretch of the South Island’s West Coast. There it is looking for mineral sand containing ilmenite, zircon, rutile, garnet and gold.

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Whanganui doctor’s beach trek against seabed mining on final stretch

Doctor Athol Steward is walking from Raglan to Whanganui to protest against seabed mining. Photo/ Supplied

Emma Russell | Wanganui Chronicle | 11 November, 2017

Nearly two weeks ago Athol Steward started his beach trek from Raglan to Whanganui, averaging 30km a day.The Whanganui doctor walking 400km in a bid to stop seabed mining is in his final stretch and is expected to arrive on Castlecliff Beach on Sunday afternoon.

The environmental advocate was outraged when Trans-Tasman Resources’ application to extract 50 million tonnes of the South Taranaki Bight seabed every year for 35 years was approved in August.

His self-funded mission aimed to support anti-mining group Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) which filed an appeal against the Environmental Protection Authority decision in the High Court on August 31.

Dr Steward said he decided that the time for talking was over and a sausage sizzle and cake sale wasn’t going to do it anymore.

“It needed to be something that would catch some interest and hopefully put the word out there that experimental seabed mining is not ok.”

And he was right, already he has raised $3695 through his Givealittle page and all proceeds will go towards KASM’s appeal.

Dr Steward said he had lots of pleasure fishing and diving out there and it was one of the best fisheries around New Zealand.

“The TTA have called it a desert but we’ve dinned out on that one. The reef is full of life, plenty of crayfish but also rare soft sponges and masses of marine life.”

Walking the first 200km with his eldest son, Lloyd, Dr Steward is now tackling the final 100km with his youngest son, Jonathan.

On Friday they will walk Patea to Waipipi then on Saturday they will continue to Waiinu Beach.

Gathering as many walkers as they can from Ototoko Beach, Dr Steward plans to end the walk at Castlecliff Beach around 3pm on Sunday.

To donate to Athol Steward’s Givealittle fund visit: http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/walkthewalkfor ourocean

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KASM, Forest & Bird appeal NZ seabed mining decision

Trans Tasman Resources Limited has been given the green light to to extract 50 million tonnes of material from the seabed off South Taranaki every year for 35 years. Photo / File

NZ Herald | 31 August, 2017

Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) has today lodged an appeal against the Environmental Protection Authority’s controversial decision granting consent to ironsands miner Trans Tasman Resources.

The company was this month given the green light to extract 50 million tonnes of material from the seabed off South Taranaki and export five million tonnes of ironsand every year for 35 years.

KASM today announced it would be appealing the decision under 15 points of law, under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act 2012, including “failing to take into account natural justice”, to apply environmental bottom lines, to take a precautionary approach, and to require “adequate information” from TTR.

KASM has called for the High Court to set the decision aside.

“We have gone through the nearly 400-page decision and we think the EPA has erred on a number of points of law, right across its decision,” KASM chairperson Cindy Baxter said.

“KASM is appealing because the EPA made a bad decision, a decision that we believe is wrong in law as well as in principle – and we have seen an overwhelming response against it.”

Forest & Bird today also announced it has lodged an appeal in the High Court.

“The EEZ Act recognises that seabed mining could have significant impacts on the marine environment, and requires protection from such impacts,” the group’s chief executive, Kevin Hague, said.

“We think the EPA’s decision to grant consent fails to protect the environment, and doesn’t meet the requirements of the EEZ Act.”

Ngati Ruanui is also among several groups that have opposed the EPA’s decision.

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How much is a ‘small’ impact?

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August 14, 2017 · 1:06 pm

Taranaki seabed mining would harm sea life, hearing told

Busloads of people have been protesting outside the Environmental Protection Agency as the hearings have continued. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

Eric Frykberg | Radio New Zealand | 25 May 2017

Opponents of a proposal to mine millions of tonnes of iron sands from the Taranaki seabed have resumed their attacks in the final day of hearings on the project.

Trans-Tasman Resources wants to dig five million tonnes of iron ore from the seabed every year for the next 35 years.

Two lobby groups, Greenpeace and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), want the scheme blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency.

KASM representative Ruby Haazen told the EPA hearing this morning a plume of mined sediment would harm the sea and sea life.

“Marine mammals is the most egregious example but the most fundamental example is the plume,” she said.

“The applicant knew how central it was, yet this hearing was delayed and thrown out of kilter by the need to re-run a worst case scenario, which for reasons we have canvassed was not worst case.”

Ms Haazen said the worst case did not stack up economically either.

The company will make its final statement this afternoon.

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