The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.
“The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham rise for phosphate nodules.
“It still has to answer questions about how it will re-establish marine life after mining, its monitoring of the sediment plume and how exactly it will mine the nodules.
“These are all major questions which should not be ignored before the Government foots 20 per cent of Chatham Rock Phosphate’s research and development costs.
“The Minister Steven Joyce has already told us that the latest round of these grants come to 13 million dollars, so this is a major investment in what is still a questionable mining operation with environmental risks.
“Chatham Rock has already raised nearly $33 million from the share market over the past four years.
“New Zealanders need to know whether some of the basic questions about this project have been answered before the taxpayer now underwrites the company’s research and development,” says David Cunliffe.