5th November 2012
Chatham Rock Phosphate today congratulated Namibian Marine Phosphate on news it has received a mining licence from that country’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.
“It’s an exciting global milestone for the industry,” CRP chief executive Chris Castle said. “We hope to be in a similar position within a few months.”
NMP is now waiting to receive environmental approvals before it can start extraction.
CRP applied for a mining licence with New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals at the end of September and will be applying for a marine consent to the Environmental Protection Authority as soon as the Exclusive Economic Zone regulations are completed next year.
Mr Castle said there were several similarities between the Namibian project and CRP’s proposal to extract phosphate from the seabed at depths of 400 metres on the Chatham Rise, east of New Zealand.
“NMP is using a similar suction hopper dredge to what we are proposing, at depths of 180 to 300 metres. It is contracting Jan De Nul, a Belgian based dredging specialist, whereas we are using Boskalis, of the Netherlands, which has become one of our cornerstone shareholders.
Both companies are adopting a similar approach to the mining technology. But NMP will pump the extracted sediments 60 km to shore. With CRP, our project is located 450 km from New Zealand and 200 km from the Chatham Islands, which is too far to pump, so our vessel will bring each load to shore,” Mr Castle said.
The Namibian project is expected to be a significant economic boon for the local economy in terms of jobs, downstream industry and tax.
“The Chatham Rock Phosphate project will benefit our economy by $1.3 billion, according to a study by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, through import substitution, exports and increased economic activity. We will pay significant tax and royalties and should also benefit the Chatham Islands’ economy.”
CRP expects to start operations at the end of 2014.
CRP has also applied for five prospecting licences offshore Namibia covering about 45 sq km. The licences, to prospect for undersea phosphate, are at water depths similar to the licence area CRP holds on the Chatham Rise.
“Our strategy is to extend the use of the mining capability we are developing and apply that technology to extract undersea phosphate in other parts of the world,” Mr Castle said.