Chatham Rock Phosphate’s proposal for seabed mining on the Chatham Rise involves very limited environmental risks in a small area, counsel James Winchester told the Environmental Protection Authority today.
In his closing submission he said this is a good project that has demonstrated it is worthy of consent under the EEZ Act’s framework.
“It will have significant benefits for New Zealand, in terms of economic benefits, and tangible strategic and environmental benefits. This is an opportunity for New Zealand that should not be missed.”
“The decision-making committee (DMC) has ample evidence to conclude the full consent sought by CRP, being mining for up to 35 years across the marine consent area, meets the sustainable management purpose of the EEZ Act.”
The few material risks are all manageable under the framework of conditions CRP proposes and risks should be the focus of the DMC’s consideration, rather than uncertainty about outcomes. If there is uncertainty, but low or no risk, then appropriate conditions could deal with any small residual risks to ensure environmental protection.
Mr Winchester said that submitters have asserted uncertainty without acknowledging the context or suggesting how a particular issue could be managed or addressed.
“Lack of detail should not be confused with lack of certainty. The nature and variability of the habitats and ecosystems are understood at a scale appropriate for the likely impacts from mining. There has been sufficient information for experts to express an opinion as to the likely effects, which has from CRP’s perspective mostly involved conservative or worst-case assessments.”