NZX Announcement: CRP completes another milestone – filing evidence and answering queries

Dear Chatham Rock Phosphate shareholder or stakeholder,

This announcement has just been filed with NZX.  

Regards,

Chris Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz

Cell: +64 21 558 185

Skype: phosphateking

www.rockphosphate.co.nz

 

 

Media Release

1 September 2014

CRP completes another milestone – filing evidence and answering queries

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 today.

The EPA's website now contains all of the evidence and answers to queries:

http://www.epa.govt.nz/EEZ/chatham_rock_phosphate/evidence/Pages/Applicants_evidence.aspx

http://www.epa.govt.nz/eez/EEZ000006/EEZ000006_Further_information_provided_by_CRP

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.

 

Contact Chris Castle on +64 21 55 81 85 or chris@crpl.co.nz

NZX Announcement: Allotment of Shares and Capital Raising Update

Dear Chatham Rock Phosphate shareholder or stakeholder,

This announcement has just been released to NZX.  

Regards,

 

Chris Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz

Cell: +64 21 558 185

Skype: phosphateking

www.rockphosphate.co.nz

 

25 August 2014

Allotment of Shares and Capital Raising Update

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited (NZX: CRP) is pleased to advise that it has today raised NZD$1.22 million in new capital from qualified investors.

CRP also anticipates that it will complete further placements shortly for approximately NZD$1 million in further new capital. As previously announced to the market it is then intended to make an offer to all existing shareholders to give them access to the investment terms currently being offered by CRP.

Shares have today been issued at NZD0.12 per share (or the approximate foreign currency equivalent). In addition, for each share issued, one CRPOB $0.688 option has been issued.

Full particulars of today’s allotment are set out below.

 

Chris Castle

Chief Executive

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz


NZX Announcement: Media Release - CRP gravely concerned at potential for bias in EPA staff report

Media Release

25 August  2014

CRP gravely concerned at potential for bias in EPA staff report

Chatham Rock Phosphate today announced it would be formally seeking the withdrawal of the Environmental Protection Authority’s staff report issued last week because of extremely worrying evidence which suggests the potential for bias.

CRP last week criticised both the content and timing of the EPA staff report on CRP's Marine Consent application.  Now a new and potentially more serious basis for concern about the validity of the report and its conclusions has emerged.  

CRP's Managing Director Chris Castle said today CRP considers the report to be potentially biased and therefore totally unreliable, and it intends to seek that the EPA staff report be formally withdrawn.  CRP will shortly make an application to the EPA's decision-making committee for that to occur.

"It has come to CRP's attention that one of the key authors of the EPA staff report appears to have been a signatory to a Greenpeace petition in 2010 seeking the Government permanently stop all plans to open up New Zealand's coastal waters to offshore oil drilling and stop any expansion of coal mining in New Zealand.   If this is the case, it raises very serious questions over the objectivity of the report and its conclusions.

"While I accept the subject matter of the petition does not refer directly to offshore mining projects such as ours, there is certainly a strong enough link between the subject matter of the petition and our project to raise an alarm.  This is further compounded by the fact that Greenpeace is a key submitter in opposition to CRP's marine consent application.  

“Any potential for a relationship with a submitter needs to be disclosed by EPA staff and, if any connection exists, the staff member simply should not be involved.

"We have asked the EPA to confirm whether the staff member was a signatory to the petition.  The EPA's response has been the staff member is not and has never been a financial member of Greenpeace and, while the individual does not recall whether or not they signed the petition, the staff member has conceded it is possible that they may have signed it.  

“We understand the staff member did confirm they have, from time to time, received communications from Greenpeace. We have asked the EPA to investigate the matter further, but the EPA advised it is satisfied with the individual's response.

"In the circumstances, that response is simply is not good enough.  A hazy memory about such important matters is not convincing, and we believe the only reasonable inference that can be drawn is the staff member was in fact a signatory to the petition.  

“If that is the case, it confirms our suspicions the report was not an objective or fair evaluation of the merits of CRP's proposal, quite apart from the other serious problems regarding accuracy, that we have identified with it.  

“It is absolutely vital in a public process like this the people involved in assessing our proposal are objective and there is no possibility of bias.  We do not have confidence this is the case and we believe there is a serious risk our application has not been fairly assessed.

"The only option is for the report to be formally withdrawn," said Mr Castle.

“This is an important issue for all public servants. The public must have confidence in their independence.

"While we understand it is already in the public domain, in our view there should be formal recognition the report has no value and will have no legal relevance to the rest of the marine consent process."  

An application to the EPA's decision-making committee responsible for CRP's application will be made shortly.  

"We are confident the decision making committee will share our concerns about the report and direct that it be withdrawn".

Mr Castle said CRP has identified numerous errors of fact in the report and the company also has concerns about conclusions drawn which conflict with expert evidence.

He said there is no reason for a staff report to contain any conclusions or recommendations as an input into the decision-making process.  “This is particularly unfair as the views of staff cannot be tested through the Marine Consent process because they do not give evidence.”

Mr Castle said there was no need for a second staff report, nor is there any need for any delay to the marine consent process as all relevant issues will be fully aired before the decision making committee.. 

“The process underway involves several weeks of evidence and discussions between interested parties.  That is the public process which matters, where anyone who has submitted on the proposal can be involved.”

Contact Chris Castle on +64 21 55 81 85 or chris@crpl.co.nz

NZX Announcement: Aorere invests in Chatham Rock Phosphate

Dear Chatham Rock Phosphate shareholder or stakeholder,

This announcement has just been released by NZX.

Aorere Resources is already an associated company  of Chatham Rock Phosphate.  

 

Regards, 

Chris Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz

Cell: +64 21 558 185

Skype: phosphateking

www.rockphosphate.co.nz

 

Media Release

22 August 2014 

Aorere invests in Chatham Rock Phosphate

Aorere Resources will invest $500,000 in Chatham Rock Phosphate, independent chairman Dene Biddlecombe announced today.

“The independent directors think the shares represent outstanding value.”

Mr Biddlecombe said the terms of the private placement – one of a number CRP is currently undertaking – will be confirmed in the next few days.

“CRP is making strong progress with its Marine Consent application and we remain very confident the company will be granted its environmental permit by the end of the year.

We are familiar with the quality of the scientific research and level of consultation undertaken by the CRP team and we believe none of the submissions made have raised any deal breakers.

Mr Biddlecombe said Aorere’s investment would be made from some of the proceeds of the recent shareholder rights issue.

“We think it’s the best investment we can make for our shareholders and are delighted it will enable Aorere to build up its holding.”

Mr Biddlecombe said he was unimpressed by the uninformed and premature report issued by staff of the Environmental Protection Authority earlier this week. 

“A cursory look shows it is riddled with mistakes and fails to even consider much of the information received more recently.  Had this information been assessed it would have addressed many of the issues raised by the report’s authors. 

“It’s a big concern such a report was issued at this time, given it has only confused interested parties, the Decision Making Committee and investors.  The EPA should look carefully at its processes in the light of the – hopefully short-term - damage its actions have caused to CRP’s share price.”

Dene Biddlecombe, Chairman, Aorere Resources, +64 27 230 0166 or dene@aorereresources.co.nz

Update: EPA staff report raises questions

22 August 2014

EPA staff report raises questions

The issuing of a staff report by the Environmental Protection Authority earlier this week was unfortunate and concerning for a number of reasons.

Though it - in the wider context - is most likely to end up being peripheral noise we remain disturbed about the circumstances of how a report of such dubious quality was issued.

While we were aware that the EPA intended to issue a report on 18 August, it was frustrating and inconvenient the report was issued without considering all relevant information and where we also believe it fails to show appropriate balance. 

Its negative view on our application is poorly informed, inaccurate and fails to take account of a huge swathe of additional information we have either recently provided, or are in the process of providing. 

There are countless errors throughout its 175 pages.  One of the more blatant shows a photograph of a dredging mechanism that bears no resemblance to what we have planned to use from the outset.  A second more concerning example is where, despite the EPA’s own expert witnesses saying there are no concerns about our proposals in various areas the report still comes down heavily with expressions of supposed “uncertainty”.

It is what we have come to expect from poorly informed critics or those deliberately distorting our proposals.  But such efforts are not what we expect, or deserve from objective and professionally trained public servants.

We are concerned the report was not independently peer reviewed and that it was not accompanied by suitable explanations of its role in the marine consent process prior to its unfortunate release.

However all that aside, ultimately it is only one input into the decision-making process and one we believe will be of marginal relevance as we progress because we believe its quality and content speaks for itself.

Report timing another concern

We have also discussed the timing of the release with the EPA.  We were aware of the date of the report issue but unhappy about its proposed timing. Unfortunately the EPA was determined to release its report despite this.

We were especially concerned a 175-page report was posted on the EPA website in the middle of NZX trading without any context to explain its relevance to the Marine Consent process and without CRP being given an opportunity to be in a position to advise our shareholders and potential investors. 

To its credit the EPA issued a clarification regarding the purpose of the staff report, but unfortunately considerable damage had by then been caused.

It has to be said we remain puzzled about the report’s value as an input into the Decision Making Committee’s process, and why it needed to contain any conclusions or recommendations given that it had not taken account of all of the relevant information. 

In addition, the views of staff cannot be tested through the Marine Consent process, because they do not give evidence.  Given it is both premature and inaccurate we seriously question how it can serve that purpose and we will encourage the DMC to focus instead on the evidence presented to it.

Share price impact

Not surprisingly, some shareholders were spooked by the report (and the ensuing media coverage which of necessity was produced within a very short time), which resulted in the share price being punished.  At one stage it fell to as low as 8c before recovering to around 14c.  The price fall was on small volumes and we think it will recover over time.

Marine Consent process

That said, we’ve always expected the Marine Consent process would be a roller coaster in terms of our being in the limelight and people continuing to make uninformed or critical comments about the project, or cherry pick information and take it out of context. 

We will keep our shareholders closely informed through these Updates to provide broader context to our regular more formal announcements.  Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns, comments or ideas!

With that in mind we thought it would be helpful to provide a bit more detail about how the Marine Consent process works.

The first stage involved submitting the formal application in May after three years of intensive scientific research and widespread consultation with interested parties.  After that there was a period of public submissions, completed in July, and three requests from the EPA for further information – answers to the last remaining responses are being finalised next week. 

Next month we start caucusing between experts to resolve differing views on scientific evidence.   After that there will be up to two months of hearings following which the DMC will form its own view and make a decision before Christmas. 

It should be noted DMCs in other EPA projects have chosen not to follow staff “advice”.  They are, after all, an independent body, tasked with evaluating evidence, not simply rubber-stamping the incomplete views of staff.

Since June the EPA has asked a total of 62 questions on three separate occasions, some of which have required considerable additional research or consideration. That was why we decided to extend the time frame for this part of the process by a couple of weeks because we consider that this new information is important and will address actual or perceived uncertainties.  We expect it will save time later on because it should resolve a number of the concerns raised. 

We remain very confident

Our view remains unchanged on our expectations of success in gaining the Marine Consent.  All that has happened is that some staff at the EPA have delivered a premature and incomplete report which we encourage everyone to ignore.

Interestingly a number of shareholders have said the actions are the equivalent of the staff in a court of law publicly stating their view on the outcome of a trial before it has begun.  The point here is it is of little overall relevance to the outcome, as well as being unhelpful to the process.

Chris Castle

managing director

chris@crpl.co.nz or +64 21 55 81 85

NZX Announcement: Media Release - CRP welcomes EPA clarification on status of staff report

Dear Chatham Rock Phosphate shareholder or stakeholder,

This announcement has just been filed with NZX. I note that at the time of writing this the market value of the company has fallen by 60% since the EPA made their release yesterday.  

Regards, 

Chris Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz

Cell: +64 21 558 185

Skype: phosphateking

www.rockphosphate.co.nz

 

Media Release

19 August  2014 

CRP welcomes EPA clarification on status of staff report

Chatham Rock Phosphate today welcomed a clarification issued by the Environmental Protection Authority regarding its staff report issued yesterday.

The EPA in its announcement today said the process for considering the application was still at an early stage.  “Further information on the application and its effects is to come from both the applicant, and in the form of evidence and submissions from other parties. Our assessment of that information has the potential to alter the recommendations made in our current Staff Report,” EPA General Manager of Applications and Assessment Sarah Gardner said.

She went on to say the staff report was not the decision on the application and the Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA Board to hear and decide the application may make a different decision to that recommended by EPA staff.

Managing director Chris Castle reiterated yesterday’s comment that the staff report was premature and would have had more value had the information requested by the EPA been provided and taken into account.  Having said that, Mr Castle acknowledged that CRP is in a statutory process and it imposes pressures on everyone involved, including the EPA.

Mr Castle said CRP was in the process of completing evidence and providing responses to 62 questions – some of which required detailed consideration and further research. 

He noted the staff report was a snapshot, based on the information available at the time.  The cut-off for the information was 1 August and so it did not include considerable information that has since been supplied and was continuing to be gathered.

“Based on the information we are amassing, and the evidence that is near completion, we remain confident we can provide a compelling case for the grant of a Marine Consent later this year. We also note the EPA’s comment that the staff are not the decision makers – the Decision Making Committee is.

“We believe we have provided and will provide the necessary information to address all of the issues raised in the report, and that the Decision Making Committee will have the evidence it requires to enable a Marine Consent to be granted.”

Mr Castle said CRP remained confident the company has done the work to show it can undertake its mining operations in a sustainable way, and the Marine Consent process would demonstrate this.

The EPA media release follows:

EPA issues preliminary report on Chatham Rock Phosphate application

The Environmental Protection Authority has issued a preliminary report on the marine consent application by Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd (CRP) for its phosphate mining project on the Chatham Rise.

The report, which is an input into the decision-making process for determining the application, evaluates the information that CRP has provided to the EPA as at 7 August 2014.

It provides the EPA’s staff view on the potential adverse effects of the proposed mining operations and discusses the matters which should be addressed by the Decision-making Committee when making its decision on the application.

EPA General Manager of Applications and Assessment Sarah Gardner said it was important to note that the process for considering the application was still at an early stage.

“Further information on the application and its effects is to come from both the applicant, and in the form of evidence and submissions from other parties. Our assessment of that information has the potential to alter the recommendations made in our current Staff Report.” 

Mrs Gardner said that on the face of the application at this time, and without all of the information requested of CRP yet being available, the EPA was currently unable to recommend that the application be granted.

“However, this is not the decision on the application and the Decision-making Committee appointed by the EPA Board to hear and decide the application may make a different decision to that recommended by EPA staff.”

The hearing on the CRP application by the Decision-making Committee is scheduled to start on 25 September with a decision due around 18 December 2014.

Background notes: On 10 July, the Hearing Procedures issued by the Decision-making Committee stated the Staff Report would be released on 4 August. Following a request from CRP the EPA agreed to delay the release of the report to 18 August. The EPA advised all parties on 11 August that it would be released on 18 August. 

Contact Chris Castle on +64 21 55 81 85 or chris@crpl.co.nz

NZX Announcement: Media Release - EPA staff report premature

Media Release

18 August  2014

EPA staff report premature

The Environmental Protection Authority staff report issued today is premature and should have not have been issued until the information requested of Chatham Rock Phosphate was provided, managing director Chris Castle said today.

“In order to be a fair and balanced report, it should have taken account of information we either recently provided or is still yet to be prepared.”

Mr Castle said CRP would never expect a report at this stage in the process to recommend approval.  “Otherwise what is the point of all of the additional information, the caucusing of expert witnesses, and the weeks of hearings that are still ahead. 

“Of course there are uncertainties.  That’s what this whole Marine Consent process is designed to identify and clarify, and it is important to remember that the decision will be made by an independent committee rather than EPA staff.”

Mr Castle said the key sentence in the report is: “EPA staff are not currently able to recommend granting this marine consent on the face of CRP's application as it stands, but recognises that there is more information to be provided, which may change our view."

“I should hope so – otherwise the value of a hearing process is undermined.

“However I do think it was unnecessary for the staff report to come out prior to us completing the additional information that was requested.  I understand the report should not be too late in the process (as it was with Trans-Tasman Resources) but I think in this case it was too early.

“My other key concern is the EPA issued the report without any reference to us, in the middle of a business day.  We are a Stock Exchange listed company and need to ensure our investors are continually informed.  We had expected that the EPA understood the issues that would be caused by their releasing a huge swathe of information without us having the opportunity to assess the information and advise our shareholders.

“While the EEZ Act contains a prescribed process for dealing with Marine Consent applications,  the EPA should be more careful to consider the commercial position of applicants when it follows those processes.

“We remain confident we have done the work to show we can undertake our mining operations in a sustainable way, and we believe the Marine Consent process will demonstrate this.

“I’d prefer to see a process that actually identifies how we can undertake seabed mining, rather than say why we shouldn’t, which I believe fits with the purpose of the EEZ legislation – that is to provide a way of enabling sustainable development.”

Contact Chris Castle on +64 21 55 81 85 or chris@crpl.co.nz

Chatham issues August operations update

Update

August 2014

We’re well on the way

It’s been a hugely busy time at Chatham Rock Phosphate HQ with the team working in a wide variety of areas.

You may be aware we operate as a virtual team with only three people actually spending much time at the Straterra office on the Terrace.    The rest of the team works either for other organisations and provide input as we need it, or they work remotely from other parts of the country and the world.

Email and phone are our lifelines.  We’re in daily contact with up to 50 people around the world on any day, we’re in weekly phone contact with our technical partner Boskalis in Holland and we’re continuing to share progress with everyone from investors and media to government agencies and other stakeholders.

Marine Consent

Since our marine consent application was accepted as complete at the end of May we’ve been in a flurry of activity.  The first step was receiving the first of a myriad of enquiries from the EPA to provide further information or explanation to the hefty 450-page application and its accompanying 35 reports.  Sometimes it has involved clarifying something and other times it’s required us to do more work.

As we’ve worked with submitters who have raised questions or potential concerns we’ve also sought more information from scientists or other experts.  Since early June the EPA has come back with two more lots of questions we’re busy working on.

In the two months since the application was lodged we’ve had submissions from nearly 300 groups and individuals, of which about a third were in favour, and two thirds not.  We were absolutely delighted at the high proportion of support – with these kinds of applications you almost always only hear from the people who don’t like something, rather than those who do.

Significantly the Crown chose to make a detailed (neutral) submission with a very can-do approach – i.e. it suggested ways of overcoming concerns, rather than simply why we shouldn’t do it, just because it hasn’t been done before.

The hearings are due to run mostly over September-October and will be held primarily in Wellington, with sessions also on Chatham Island and in Hamilton, to make it easier for those submitters who asked to be heard.

Marketing

While most of our work is focused on the consent process, there’s a lot of other activity too.

We’ve been thinking ahead to when we are actually in production.  A lot of work has already been done on potential markets and we’ve identified at least six countries in Asia that would use our product for four different uses.

Managing that work is our Vice President Sales and Strategy Najib Moutia, a Canadian-based Moroccan who for 30 years worked for the world’s biggest phosphate producer in his home country, building its Asia Pacific business from 0 to 90% market share.

As part of building those potential customers – and to provide some (positive!) cash flow before we get into production, we’re looking at undertaking some phosphate trading.  We’re also testing some rock from companies with whom we are building alliances and considering the best uses for those products.

While any trading will be done at the wholesale end – and we see that as our primary market – we are not ignoring the possibility of moving up the value chain.

We know there are hugely greater potential returns in selling small bags of organic direct application phosphate rock from garden centres and DIY stores.  So we’re researching what is currently sold and what the potential might be, starting with New Zealand, but also potentially overseas.

We’ve employed a market researcher to talk to the people in the industry on a fact-finding mission.  The results so far are fascinating.  We’re only at the start of a long process in building our business plan. However we do think there is huge potential for a natural New Zealand product, especially given the rising concerns about the current mix of chemical fertilisers on offer.

Boskalis

The relationship with our technical partner Boskalis continues to be a fantastic asset for CRP.  Its 100-plus years of experience in the marine dredging industry and its wealth of expertise in a wide range of areas including engineering and hydronamics are invaluable.  Boskalis works in 75 countries around the world and environmental and existing user concerns are always the primary focus.  The company has countless examples of how it has designed a way of doing something to anticipate a potential concern – it is simply the way it does business.

Three senior managers including project sponsor and senior executive Ko de Blaeij are coming to New Zealand to give evidence at the marine consent hearings.  Ko stepped down from the CRP board recently but remains very involved in the project and will lead our expert panel which guides us through strategic decisions that have a technical focus.

We really value the energy, expertise and continuing support we receive from Boskalis.

We expect to make considerable progress on these and other aspects of our business and will be in touch with more, regular updates.

 

Chris Castle, Managing Director

chris@crpl.co.nz or +64 (0) 21 55 81 85

NZX Announcement: Chatham Rock Phosphate targets AIM listing after marine consent

Dear Chatham Rock Phosphate shareholder or stakeholder,

This announcement was filed on NZX overnight and will be released before the market opens today.

Regards,

 

Chris Castle

Chief Executive Officer

Chatham Rock Phosphate Limited

Email: chris@crpl.co.nz

Cell: +64 21 558 185

Skype: phosphateking

www.rockphosphate.co.nz

 

Media Release

Chatham Rock Phosphate targets AIM listing after marine consent

11 August 2014

Chatham Rock Phosphate will target an AIM listing on the London alternative stock exchange following receipt of its Marine Consent approval, currently expected at the end of November.

The company has been investigating a capital raising and listing over the past few months.

“The directors have decided it is preferable, in terms of restricting dilution and enhancing shareholder value, to have an Initial Public Offering in London after we receive the marine consent,” managing director Chris Castle said.

“As a result sufficient funds are being raised to meet the company’s needs for the next few months.”

Existing shareholders will have the opportunity to participate at the same price as private placements being made.

 

Chris Castle 021 55 81 85 or chris@crpl.co.nz

Please note Chris is currently in London.