22 October 2014
Chatham Rock Phosphate is pleased the second staff report, released by the Environmental Protection Authority today, contains no conclusions or recommendations, managing director Chris Castle said today.
“At our request the decision-making committee (DMC) agreed and directed that the staff report should contain no recommendations or conclusions.
“Following its release we still think the supplementary report has little relevance to the proceedings and still contend it should not have been prepared, because it only looks at information up to the start of the hearing and also ignores the very valuable work completed by expert conferencing. Even more critically, it does not consider evidence at the hearing.
“The DMC ruled the supplementary report should be prepared but not take account of developments during the hearing itself. More importantly, the DMC said, given the scope for potentially significant developments to occur over the course of the hearing, it would be of questionable value for the supplementary report to include an overall conclusion or recommendation on the merits of the consent application.
“We note this is in marked contrast to the first report which reached totally premature conclusions on the basis of information which would inevitably be, and has been, substantially supplemented through various steps of the hearing process.
“We argued a recommendation in the supplementary report could create a premature and misleading impression about the likely outcome of the hearing. This is precisely what happened with the first report where shareholders, prospective investors and other observers, many of them overseas, incorrectly concluded the EPA had already reached a decision. The first report halved the market value of the company and effectively cost CRP shareholders more than $15 million ”
The updated staff report contains a spreadsheet summary and analysis of the information up to the start of the hearing and expert witness conference reports.
“We are pleased the DMC agreed it would be unfair and contrary to the principles of natural justice that unknown report authors who have not and will not attend the hearing will reach conclusions without having heard the evidence.”
Mr Castle said in contrast, the DMC will consider:
· the information provided in the application and environmental impact assessment (470 pages and more than 30 scientific reports)
· responses provided to 62 separate requests for information, including the preparation of additional research reports
· the results of 14 separate rounds of expert conferencing covering everything from economics and ecosystem effects to fishing and mammals
· the expert evidence heard over 25 days including answers to questions asked by the committee and counsel.
CRP notes there will be the opportunity to question the authors of the second staff report during the hearing process.
Chris Castle, Managing Director +64 21 55 81 85 or firstname.lastname@example.org