The Government’s concerned a huge phosphate mining project proposed for the Chatham Rise, off the country’s east coast, could contaminate our food.
Chatham Rock Phosphate’s applying for consent to mine the mineral for fertiliser.
In its submission to the Environmental Protection Authority, the Crown says there are high levels of uranium in the phosphate the company wants to mine.
It points to research that says this will make the concentration of uranium in its fertiliser, four times higher than in the fertiliser we currently import from Morocco.
It estimates it would only take 40 to 50 years for the uranium in our farmland to accumulate to the point it would not meet US and Canadian standards.
New Zealand’s clean-green, nuclear-free image is said to be under threat by a proposed mining project.
Chatham Rock Phosphate is applying for consent to mine phosphate from the Chatham Rise, off the Canterbury Coast, and use it to make fertiliser.
The seafood industry is concerned about the amount of uranium the company will extract as it mines the rock.
Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement, is asking the Government to require the company to apply for a separate permit to extract uranium.
He says there are commercially viable quantities of uranium in the rock phosphate, so the Government must pay attention to the issue.
The Environment, Energy and Resources and Conservation Ministers have declined to comment.
A study done by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research also concludes there are high levels of uranium in the area’s rock phosphate.
When used in fertiliser, it says it has the potential to contaminate our food chain.
Chatham Rock Phosphate says the traces of uranium aren’t cause for concern, and are not significantly higher than in phosphate which is imported.
It says it is normal for rock phosphate to contain some uranium.
The Environmental Protection Authority has received 279 submissions on the company’s consent application â “ 95 in support, 181 against and three neutral.
A hearing on the application will begin on September 4.