Chatham Rise mining could have impacts on whales, dolphins, EPA told

Date: October 21, 2014

Source: Scoop Independent News

Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, on New Zealand’s continental shelf, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was told today. 

Whale expert, University of Otago’s Associate Professor Liz Slooten, gave evidence on behalf of Greenpeace, Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM), and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) at the EPA’s hearing into the Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd (CRP) application for seabed mining in 450 metre deep waters to mine phosphates on the Chatham Rise entered its fifth week.

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Note to editors:

Chatham Rock Phosphate Ltd has applied to New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority for a marine consent to carry out seabed mining on the Chatham Rise, between New Zealand’s South Islands and the Chatham Islands, in waters about 450 metres deep. The application is heard by a 5 member Decision-Making Committee. All documents are on the EPA website.

The hearing will take nine weeks and is expected to conclude on 20 November. A decision is expected by late December.

Greenpeace, the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition and Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) have formed a coalition to oppose the application. The coalition has called evidence on benthic (seafloor life) effects (Prof. Les Watling from the University of Hawaii), marine mammals (Assoc. Prof. Liz Slooten from the University of Otago), toxic effects (Assoc. Prof. Barrie Peake from the University of Otago) and regulation of radiation (Dr David Santillo), since the phosphate to be mined has a high proportion of uranium.