New Zealand’s parliamentary Green Party has urged the government to implement a moratorium on seabed mining.
The Green Party’s proposal comes as a response to the news that Trans-Tasman Resources has submitted request for a 4,436km² prospecting permit offshore along the West Coast of the South Island to New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals.
Green Party oceans spokesperson Eugenie Sage said: "New Zealand needs to follow the lead of Australia’s Northern Territory and Namibia and put a moratorium on seabed mining.
"Seabed mining is completely experimental and has the potential for major impacts on the seabed, water quality and marine mammals and other marine life."
In June 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected the company’s seabed mining application to extract ironsands in a 65.76km² area between 22km and 36km off the coast of Patea in New Zealand.
The company intended to extract up to 50 million tonnes of seabed material a year for next 20 years.
According to Green Party, as the West Coast is a habitat for Hector’s dolphin, Trans-Tasman is again set to face public opposition in the South Island.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the company plans to use its seafloor drilling technology, and experience in exploration, geological, engineering and permitting to evaluate the potential of the sands targets in Westland.
The Wellington-headquartered company also plans to focus on developing offshore mineable resources of mineral sands.