The company hoping to mine iron-sand offshore from Pātea has applied to explore for minerals in a much larger area around its planned seabed mine.
In August 2017 Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) got permission to mine iron-sand across 6575ha that is 22km to 36km offshore from Pātea in the South Taranaki Bight. Those consents are subject to a legal battle, which is likely to move to the Court of Appeal this year.
Meanwhile, on December 19 last year, TTR applied to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals (NZPAM) for a mineral exploration permit for a larger 81,534ha area, also more than 22km offshore and surrounding the area it would like to mine. Submissions on the application close on February 19.
South Taranaki iwi Ngāti Ruanui has been one of the main groups opposing the seabed mining proposal. At South Taranaki District Council's iwi liaison meeting on January 30, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui Trust deputy chairman Ngapari Nui put forward a resolution asking the council to endorse its opposition to this new application.
Mayor Ross Dunlop refused to receive the resolution, because notice of it had not been given in advance.
He said the iwi had known about the new application since December 18, so it had plenty of time to put it on the agenda and provide committee members with relevant information.
"Unfortunately, we heard nothing until it was raised on the day at the meeting. This was the reason for not accepting the iwi's recommendation."
That response is offensive, and unsupportive to iwi and to others who oppose the mining, Nui said.
The council committee can't ask for council support again until after submissions close. Its next meeting is on March 13 and Nui hopes the council will reconsider.
Dunlop said Nui's criticism was unwarranted, and the council naturally has a real interest in ensuring any project does not negatively affect the environment or the district.
TTR also has a mining exploration permit for a 63,000ha area inshore from its proposed iron-sand mine. That permit expires in December 2021.