17 October 2016
Chatham Rock Phosphate occupies centre stage at UMC conference
Chatham Rock Phosphate (Chatham) was a keynote presenter at the Underwater Mining conference held at Incheon in South Korea last week.
Chatham CEO Chris Castle updated the scientists, marine miners, sector investors and other industry players attending the conference from 17 countries on the company’s present status and forward plans.
His address, the central theme of this being that Chatham is back on track, will be re-submitting a marine consent application and is not going away, was warmly received. The project is very much on the world stage and it’s clear that the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority’s ability to effectively evaluate marine mining proposals is under a microscope.
Contrary to the proposition advanced by poorly informed anti-marine mining advocates, marine mining is not a new idea. Tin mining in Asia, diamond mining offshore South Africa and Namibia, and most significantly, aggregate mining offshore the United Kingdom and other European countries have been undertaken for several decades. In the UK and Europe the construction industry (roads, buildings, etc) relies heavily on raw materials recovered from the ocean.
In parallel, maintenance dredging of river channels and port entrances has been routinely undertaken for at least a century. The environmental impact of this activity is the same, is much closer to coastal communities and has accordingly been subject to rigorous scrutiny for a very long time.
It is the sixth year Chatham - one of the most advanced marine mining projects in the world - has updated the marine mining industry on progress.
Chatham has held a granted mining licence since December 2013 and plans to apply for a marine consent in the second quarter of 2017.
Establishment of a rock phosphate industry in New Zealand territorial waters has a significant number of economic, environmental and market benefits.
Chris Castle – +64 21 55 81 85 or
About Chatham Rock Phosphate
Chatham Rock Phosphate is the custodian of New Zealand’s only material resource of environmentally friendly pastoral phosphate fertiliser. Our key role is connecting the resource with those who need it.
Using this phosphate will support sustainable farming practices, including healthier soils and reduced accumulation of the heavy metal cadmium, dramatically lowering runoff to waterways and shrinking fertiliser needs over time.
The resource has an estimated worth of $5 to $7 billion, representing one of New Zealand’s most valuable mineral assets and is of huge strategic significance because phosphate is essential to maintain New Zealand’s high agricultural productivity.
New Zealand’s current access to phosphate is vulnerable to economic and political events in the six countries controlling 98% of the world’s phosphate reserves, with 85% of the total in the Western Saharan state of Morocco.
Chatham takes very seriously the responsibility vested in it through its mining permit to use the world’s best knowledge and technology to safely extract this resource to help sustainably feed the world.
Our initial environmental consenting process established extraction would have no significant impact on fishing yields or profitability, marine mammals or seabirds.