18 April 2013
Chatham Rock Phosphate’s mining licence application will be considered as a priority under the brand new Crown Minerals Act law, according to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.
A letter to the company from NZP&M says the information CRP has provided regarding the mineral resource and its financial and technical capability has not raised any concerns.
The new Act was passed by Parliament this week and will be enacted within a few weeks. NZP&M confirmed CRP’s mining licence application, made under the Continental Shelf Act, will be considered as if it was made under the new law.
Chief Executive Chris Castle said the letter provided significant comfort.
“The licence application has been stuck in limbo because we were caught between two regimes. This means there is a lot more clarity for everyone. We are grateful to the government for resolving what has been a no-man’s land.”
“Our mining licence will now be considered with no further delay on its merits under the new CMA. We are confident we will meet the tests of the new law.”
“Our environmental application will be considered – hopefully fairly soon – under the new Exclusive Economic Zone legislation. We’re still waiting on the regulations to be finalised, but we expect they won’t be too far away and we intend that our consent application will be the first one in.”
“On that basis we will go through a comprehensive process established under the new Act in the second half of 2013. Again we believe we will pass scrutiny and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the rigour we have applied to our project.”
NZP&M National Manager Minerals Sefton Darby said in the letter to CRP: “Given the unique situation of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s mining application, consideration of it is being treated as a matter of priority.
“We appreciate the company has open lines of communications with NZP&M and we hope to process it quickly. We intend to make a final decision on your application after the amendment Bill becomes an Act and takes effect.
“We will continue to assess the application in anticipation. This means we are assessing the application against the criteria for permits under the amended CMA regime.”
Mr Castle said he was delighted the government recognised the importance for the company to continue to make progress with its project to develop an undersea rock phosphate project on the Chatham Rise.
“We have done the work and we know this project stacks up technically, environmentally and financially. We want to be able to show this in a public process as soon as possible so everyone can see we’ve done our homework.”
Chris Castle – +64 21 55 81 85 or firstname.lastname@example.org