AS CALLS FROM PACIFIC COMMUNITIES grow to stop seabed mining, it seems that the breakdown of a financing agreement may impede the viability of the Nautilus seabed mining experiment in Papua New Guinea.
Nautilus Inc is leading the rush to mine the sea floor in the Pacific. If it goes ahead, its Solwara 1 project in the Bismark Sea will be the world’s first commercial deep sea mine.
However stocks in Canadian company dropped dramatically over the past couple of weeks. This follows increasing opposition to the project including a call from Pacific communities to stop seabed mining.
In addition, the PNG government has refused to contribute to development costs and a financing agreement with a European ship builder has broken down.
Many Canadians are standing in solidarity with civil society in the Pacific against deep sea mining.
Dr Catherine Coumans from Mining Watch Canada said Nautilus is proposing to mine environmentally, socially and culturally significant seabeds in the Pacific, an activity that would not be allowed in Canadian waters.
Dr Helen Rosenbaum, campaign coordinator for the Deep Sea Mining campaign in Australia and author of Out of Our Depth: Mining the Ocean Floor in Papua New Guinea, said the Nautilus environmental impact statement is deeply flawed.
“The company itself admits to moderate environmental risk,” she said. “Independent analysis of the EIS indicates far higher risks.”
Groups across the Pacific have a petition calling for Pacific governments to stop experimental seabed mining and Pacific women are currently promoting the ‘stop experimental seabed mining’ message at the international Rio+20 conference in Brazil.