17 May 2012
Extensive environmental research has added most of an extra $1.7 million spent by Chatham Rock Phosphate on cruises using Odyssey Marine Exploration’s Dorado Discovery during the summer.
“We decided to extend the time the Dorado was out at sea to gather significantly more information that is of immense value for completing our application for a mining licence, seeking environmental consents and determining the final technical aspects of the extraction techniques designed by Boskalis to recover rock phosphate,” managing director Chris Castle said.
“Most of the extra costs were on the environmental cruise. Collecting that extra information took significantly more time but we thought it was important data to collect.”
The team on the Dorado surveyed 13 of the environmental areas identified by NIWA (eight target mining areas and five reference areas outside mining zones) and collected more than 77 km of remote operating vehicle (ROV) video transects, recording more than 150 hours (or 700 Gb) of video and 62,000 observations from the video transects as well as 17,000 still photos.
In addition, the cruise collected 130 box cores from 38 sites, 3 km2 of high-resolution bathymetry and backscatter data and more than 500 km2 of regional bathymetry data. The ROV stopped on 12 occasions to take biology samples or close-up photos.
The sampling and photography will enable detailed assessment of animals that live on the seafloor.
The information, targeted at the Rise’s significant phosphate resource, will also contribute significantly to the store of public good information used by scientists to understand New Zealand’s oceanic environment.
Odyssey and CRP had earlier agreed CRP could meet some of the costs payable to Odyssey through an issue of shares as well as by cash. The total costs payable to Odyssey for its work is approximately USD$5.7 million. Of this amount, USD$4 million has already been paid to Odyssey in cash. Although a final decision has not yet been made, the remaining approximately USD$1.7 million may be settled through an issue of shares to Odyssey.
The board of CRP will decide in mid June if shares are issued to Odyssey will be through a placement of shares, which would be at NZD$0.23 per share.
“If the share issue occurs we will be welcoming Odyssey as a substantial shareholder in CRP,’ Mr Castle said. “Odyssey has been a valued partner to CRP with its work having played a significant role in progressing our project.“
Odyssey undertook four surveying cruises for CRP from December to April. These cruises have provided CRP with a wealth of scientific data about its offshore permit area as well as bulk samples of rock phosphate for further analysis.
“The work done on the cruises has given a major boost to the project’s considerable momentum. We remain very focused on delivering on our goals.”
For and on behalf of the Board,
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