Our project sites

South Taranaki Bight

Our initial project area is a 65.76km2 area of the South Taranaki Bight. We have a Mining Permit that grants us exclusive mineral rights for this area and have reapplied for marine resource consent to extract iron sand from the seabed.

We will extract iron sand from 5km2 of this initial project area each year - just 0.3 per cent of the total 17,150km2 of the Bight.

No deep sea mining is involved. The site is a relatively shallow and dynamic area in the path of strong westerly winds known as the Roaring Forties. Waves move the sediment constantly resulting in a featureless seabed, much like Taranaki's black beaches.

There are no marine reserves or marine mammal sanctuaries in this area and very few reefs. Our initial proposed extraction site is more than 22km offshore. As a company, we have voluntarily undertaken not to apply to carry out any exploration or extraction activities within two nautical miles of the coastline.

Why offshore?

Offshore seabed mining has significant advantages over onshore mining. Unlike onshore mining, our project requires no drilling, crushing, blasting or massive infrastructure such as railways, roads or deep water ports. Ore is not transported over land and the process does not generate any waste dumps or toxic run offs.

The entire process will take place at sea. Ore extracted from the seabed will be processed on a purpose-built integrated mining vessel (IMV) without use of heat or chemicals. It will be dewatered and stored on a trans-shipment vessel and then transferred to export vessels for shipping directly to world markets.

It is an economical, low-impact environmentally sensitive way to realise the benefits of New Zealand's offshore iron sand resource, whilst delivering positive economic and social benefits to New Zealand, and particularly Taranaki's communities.

Earth Economics, a Washington-based non-government research organisation, recently carried out an independent objective environmental and social analysis of the proposed Solwara 1 deep-sea copper mine in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea.

Earth Economics compared the social and environmental impacts of the project with that of three land-based mines in the USA, Australia and Ecuador. Its report, released in June 2015, found the Solwara 1 project would have 75-90 per cent lower social and environmental impact than onshore land-based mines.

This includes:

  • People will not be displaced by the proposed offshore project

  • There will be no impact to food production

  • There will be no impact to surface or groundwater fresh water supplies

  • There will be no significant risk of disaster (e.g. mine tailing slide into communities)

  • There will be no impact to pollination, soil formation, erosion, historic and cultural values

  • There will be no long-term mining liabilities for freshwater contamination, tailings and overburden failures.

The full report can be downloaded from the Earth Economics website at:

Video - Proposed Operation

South Taranaki Bight Project