The Project involves the excavation of up to 50 million tonnes per year of seabed material containing iron sand, for processing on a Mining Vessel. Around 10% or 5 million tonnes of the extracted material will be processed into iron ore concentrate for export, with residual material (approximately 45 million tonnes) returned to the seabed as de-ored sediment via a controlled discharge at depth below the Mining Vessel.
Processing on the Mining Vessel involves separation of the ore from the seabed material using gravity and magnetic processes, and does not involve the addition of any chemicals or other products.
Processed ore will be transferred from the Mining Vessel to a Floating Storage and Offloading Vessel (FSO) and then to export vessels, which will take it to world markets for use in steel production.
TTR has, since 2009, undertaken a detailed baseline study programme and modelling of potential environmental effects. Based on the environmental research conducted by NIWA and overseas experience, we have refined our extraction and processing methodology to minimise the potential environmental effects of our operations.
While the permit covers a relatively small area, the project should provide long term employment and benefits to the local communities of South Taranaki and Whanganui. The project will require approximately 200 personnel in total to operate the offshore vessels with approximately a further 50 staff being required in support, engineering, administration, environmental and other contracting roles.
TTR will commission vessels and the processing plant once permits and consents are granted in mid-2014, with commercial extraction is expected to begin in 2016.
Map depicting project area