New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals announced that CRP has been granted a mining permit in respect of its phosphate project on the Chatham Rise. The permit is the first granted under the amended Crown Minerals Act which came into force on 25 May this year.
The approval of a Mining Permit for Chatham Rock Phosphate to extract rock phosphate from the seabed in the Exclusive Economic Zone is a significant milestone for New Zealand as well as the company and the industry, Managing Director Chris Castle said.
CRP applied for permission to extract New Zealand’s major phosphate resource under the previous legislation last year and the application was transferred to the new regime, designed to operate in conjunction with the EEZ legislation which applied from June.
“This is our most important milestone to date,” Mr Castle said. “It means we’re half way to being permitted, so the permit significantly derisks the company.”
Mr Castle said the approval also demonstrates the mining industry’s important contribution to the wider economy. The project will make New Zealand $900 million richer and contribute $250 million a year in exports and import substitution.
Chatham Rise rock phosphate can be used as an ultra-low cadmium direct-application fertiliser. It has been proved as effective as processed fertiliser and reduces run-off effects on New Zealand waterways by up to 80%. As a local source it will provide fertiliser security for New Zealand, can be blended with other forms of fertiliser to reduce cadmium levels in processed fertilisers and reduce New Zealand’s transport-related carbon footprint and costs.
Mr Castle said CRP’s remaining final milestone is a Marine Consent, which will be applied for early next year. The other key risk-factors already substantially satisfied were quantifying the resource, designing the extraction techniques and identifying markets.
CRP has used the time while the Mining Permit application was considered to significantly improve its Marine Consent application.
“We’ve gathered a lot of new information with a particular focus on the best ways we can answer the key questions interested parties want to know. We’ve talked to a lot of people and they’ve given us a lot of insights into their potential concerns. We’ve also had sections of our Environmental Impact Assessment peer reviewed by overseas experts who have suggested improvements.
“We feel confident we can satisfy those concerns and demonstrate the environmental impacts of our operations will be minor and localised. We’ve also thought carefully about mitigation and monitoring and are continuing to talk to anyone with an interest in the project.”
Press Release, December 9, 2013