The Herald has an article on the government investigating the mining potential of seamounts. These are extinct underwater volcanoes, which are rich in unique sea life and ecologies that include some of our most important fisheries, and minerals.
We know that on-shore mining is environmentally destructive, underwater mining would be magnitudes worse – indiscriminate dredging and drilling that would devastate those environments and the fisheries that depend on them.
Ludicrously, Gerry Brownlee claims the government isn’t planning to mine the seamounts. Yeah, they just send out a NIWA research vessel to investigate the mineral potential of the seamounts for the hell of it.
Brownlee says: “We have no plans whatsoever to prospect offshore”. The truth is, Brownlee has already given underwater mining the go ahead.
You’ll remember Widespread Portfolios, the mining company that Murray McCully owns shares in. Back in February, Brownlee issued a permit to Widespread Portfolios for prospecting 4,700 sqkm of the Chatham Rise. They’re hoping to mine phosphates.
It’s a separate range of seamounts from the ones the NIWA vessel Tangaroa is currently investigating but the Widespread Portfolios website says that they have contracted NIWA for exploratory work. So, we can expect Tangaroa will be doing more work in preparation for undersea mining in the coming months.
Brownlee needs to stop being so secretive and undemocratic. He needs to front up with his plans to mine valuable and irreplaceable ecologies.