Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation, is disappointed that tighter restrictions on seismic
surveying and seabed mining have been included in the protections for dolphins announced by the government today.
“It is important that marine mammals within New Zealand’s marine jurisdiction are protected,” said Straterra CEO Chris
“However, there is no scientific evidence that seismic surveying and seabed mining have a detrimental impact on marine
mammals and none was able to be provided to inform public consultation on the Hector’s and Maui Dolphin Threat
“Rather than an outright ban, seabed mining and seismic surveying applications should be assessed on a case-by-case
basis where an objective assessment of the merits of proposals are made.
“There is significant economic potential in the vanadium-rich ironsands resource on the seabed of the western seaboard
of the North Island, and potential for a variety of high-tech mineral deposits to be found in other coastal and marine
areas. Such minerals could play a major role in the move to a low- carbon economy.
“A case by case approach would be able to address the economic and environmental trade-offs. But today’s decisions means
these green minerals will be further out of reach.
“Because of the realities of commercial mining, the area of seabed likely to be mined is very small. Currently there are
a small number of Crown minerals permits in place within New Zealand’s marine jurisdiction.
“If seabed mining were to occur, the mining footprint is likely to be infinitesimal compared with the area being
“We would be concerned if anti-mining ideology has influenced the inclusion of these seismic surveying and seabed mining
restrictions in the plan for no definite gain to the dolphins,” Mr Baker concluded.