Chatham Rock Phosphate today submitted a draft Environmental Impact Assessment to the Environmental Protection Authority.
The EPA is a national-level independent environmental regulation, which has the ability to grant or decline marine consent applications.
“This is a major milestone and the culmination of three years’ work,” Chief Executive Chris Castle said.
The draft is being submitted to the EPA in anticipation of presenting a complete marine consent application in the next month. This will be in advance of when the new Exclusive Economic Zone environmental consenting regime comes into force.
At this stage the EPA is working with CRP in pre-lodgement. The official process doesn’t start until the Act comes into force in June, when the regulations are promulgated.
“We want to make sure we have prepared all of the information the EPA needs, under the terms of the EEZ Act, so we’re working with them to check we’ve thought of everything. It is supported by a series of very comprehensive reports that we think has considered every conceivable aspect.”
CRP expects to be the first minerals company to have a marine consent application considered under the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) legislation.
Mr Castle said a clear process is now in place so all interested parties can review the work CRP has done and satisfy themselves the project will meet the purposes of the Act.
He said the information in the EIA would be publicly available once the final report is submitted.
“Our application is close to finalisation and as soon as we are ready we will be submitting it so anyone with an interest can see the work we’ve done. We expect to work through the submission and hearing process during the second half of 2013 with an aim to receiving approval by the end of this year.”
Mr Castle said the certainty of the earlier approval process will enable mining contract partner Boskalis to be able to commit earlier to the significant capital investment required to develop the necessary equipment and fit out the mining ship.
“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 so everyone can see we’ve done our homework.”
CRP’s planned activities will be a discretionary activity, subject to scrutiny by the EPA and interested parties.
Chris Castle – +64 21 55 81 85 or firstname.lastname@example.org