3 Dec 2015

Mining company challenges EPA over $795k costs

2:11 pm on 3 December 2015

Mining exploration company Chatham Rock Phosphate has slammed a move by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to make it pay $795,000 in costs.

The EPA has applied to recover costs in court related to Chatham Rock's failed marine consent application to mine the Chatham Rise.

Chris Castle.

Chatham Rock managing director Chris Castle Photo: SUPPLIED

Chatham Rock managing director Chris Castle said the bill was unreasonable, and there were grounds for a judicial review of all the costs.

"We have strong grounds for a judicial review of all of the EPA's invoiced costs on the basis the charges are unreasonable and unlawful and, in light of the EPA's ill-advised actions, it appears necessary for this to be laid bare."

Mr Castle said the company would prefer to settle the matter with the EPA so it could get on with its next bid for consent to mine the Chatham Rise

Chatham Rise

The Chatham Rise - to the east of New Zealand. Photo: Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

EPA chief executive Dr Allan Freeth said the authority had taken all reasonable steps to recover the costs associated with the marine consent process.

He said the EPA had undertaken a comprehensive review of the costs and other matters raised by Chatham Rock, and considered the costs legitimate.

Mr Castle said the company had already paid $1.86 million of the $2.66m claimed by the EPA.

He said Chatham Rock had queried a number of the expenses, and would not pay until it was satisfied the costs were justified.

"We have a duty of care to our shareholders regarding money spent.

"These costs have not been reviewed independently and we have serious concerns about the transparency and accountability of EPA processes," Mr Castle said.

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