Alarm bells should be ringing in light of the hard questions asked by Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s mining application.
“EPA is rightly asking the hard questions of CRP, showing that CRPs application is so loose that it puts the marine environment, and consequently the health of New Zealand fisheries, at huge risk,” says George Clement, chief executive of the Deepwater Group.
The EPA has raised the issue of Chatham Rise seabed sediments containing a ‘range of trace elements including heavy metals and radioactive elements’ like uranium, strontium and caesium and their potential impact on water quality, in an extensive letter that questions a number of aspects of the application.
“The EPA’s decision to seek independent advice from radiation experts in regards to the elevated levels of radioactive minerals like uranium, and their impact on human health and marine organisms, highlights the seriousness of this issue, which seems to have been ignored by CRP,” says Mr Clement.
“EPA’s questions also cover the lack of information around the impacts of dredging on the environment, the limitations and validity of CRP’s modeling to identify areas of high biodiversity, and seeking from CRP full details of their research which underpins their conclusion that phosphate mining would have ‘little or no impact on commercial fishing.”
Deepwater fishing interests have opposed mining the Chatham Rise stating that the widespread habitat destruction will put the health and quality of New Zealand’s sustainable fisheries at risk.
Press Release, July 24, 2014