A company planning to mine ironsands off the south Taranaki coast is stepping up its efforts to win over the community. But environmental groups are also stepping up their campaign against the plan.
Trans-Tasman Resources wants to take sand from the seabed, extract the iron concentrate and ship it to Asian markets where it will be turned into steel.
It has applied to New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals for a permit to mine a 65-square-kilometre area in the Exclusive Economic Zone 22 kilometres out to sea from Patea.
Chief executive Tim Crossley says an iwi community manager has been taken on and, alongside an environmental manager, is stepping up community engagement.
Kiwis Against Seabed Mining, an environmental group, says the project will destroy marine life.
Chairperson Phil McCabe says community opposition is growing, with good turnouts for meetings and more people signing up to the group on Facebook.
Mr McCabe is encouraging people to make submissions when the company applies for marine consents with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trans-Tasman Resources says that although iron ore prices have dropped, there is a worldwide appetite for the commodity, with several ironsand projects overseas also in development.
The company intends to apply for marine permits with the Environmental Protection Agency in October.