Iwi and environmental groups take fight against iron sand mining to High Court

The fight to stop iron sand mining off the South Taranaki coast has gone all the way to the High Court in Wellington.

The case is being heard in Wellington. Source: 1 NEWS

Seven groups, including iwi, Talleys and other fishing groups, Forest and Bird and Greenpeace are appealing the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow Trans Tasman Resources (TTR) to drill for iron sand off the South Taranaki Bight.

In August last year the EPA announced it would allow TTR to drill for iron sand, which the company argued would secure about 1600 jobs in the region.

A decision-making committee granted the consent, subject to conditions, for the company to mine.

But local iwi and various environmental groups were opposed to the plans from the outset. It was the second time Trans-Tasman Resources has made an application to mine South Taranaki, after a failed attempt a couple of years ago.

Court this morning opened with a karakia and waiata by iwi representatives. The public gallery was full in the High Court.

The Environmental Protection Agency argued it was simply an agency supporting a decision maker and that the committee that granted the consent was completely independent.

One of the lawyers for the seven appellants this morning argued that this was a world first in terms of deep iron sand drilling and that there is a lack of information on what the environmental aspects will be.

The case is set down for the rest of the week.