Chatham Rock Phosphate has achieved another major milestone by completing and filing evidence from 31 expert witnesses and answers to 62 queries from the Environmental Protection Authority.
CRP has applied for a marine consent to mine rock phosphate from an area of the seabed on the Chatham Rise, in the Pacific Ocean 450 km from New Zealand and 250 km from the Chatham Islands. The area is within New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
“It was a massive task and the quality of the work produced continues to demonstrate to the CRP board and management why this project is important for New Zealand – both economically and environmentally,” managing director Chris Castle said.
Mr Castle said the quality and comprehensiveness of the evidence and the answers underscores the board’s confidence CRP has built the case to demonstrate to the decision-making committee this project should be approved.
“With every report and expert, we continue to demonstrate the environmental impacts are comparatively minor or can be readily managed and the benefits – both environmental and economic – are significant for New Zealand.”
The CRP team is now preparing for the start of hearings on 25 September, which includes caucusing or discussions between expert witnesses, in the week starting 15 September, to seek to identify areas of agreement and identify outstanding areas of contention.
CRP is also planning the order of its witnesses given some are travelling from Europe and the United States, and to accommodate the timing of hearings in the Chatham Islands in the week starting 6 October. At this stage CRP anticipates hearings will last around 6 weeks.