Opposition grows to deep sea mining threat
18 November 2022
“Deep sea mining is not wanted! The PNG government should be following in the footsteps of other Pacific states like Fiji, Samoa, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia calling for a pause, moratorium or complete ban”
PORT MORESBY - Community leaders from atolls and coastal communities in the Bismarck Archipelago and Solomon Sea region are calling for a ban on seabed mining and the cancellation of all seabed mining licenses in their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
There are hundreds of communities in New Ireland, East New Britain, Manus, Madang, Bougainville, and Milne Bay provinces whose EEZ holds the fishery and tuna stock for Papua New Guinea.
This rich ocean resource is on the brink of exploitation after constant pressure by the government since 2011 for experimental seabed mining exploration.
In 2011, Canadian mining company Nautilus Minerals Limited was given a mining and environmental permit to operate Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea, making it the first international seabed mining operation in the world despite flaws in its operations an environmental impact reports.
The company was reported bankrupt in 2019 and closed its operations.
Now local communities in New Ireland have discovered that a new joint venture company has purchased Nautilus Minerals’ assets.
Deep Sea Mining Finance and Sustainable Mining Solutions have been pushing decision-makers in PNG to re-open the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in the Bismarck Sea.
According to director of the West Coast Development Foundation and Alliance of Solwara warrior advocate Jonathan Mesulam, the companies have been meeting with the government since May.
The Alliance is calling on the PNG government to walk its talk and ban all seabed mining and cancel licenses for future seabed mining exploration.
Mesulam has questioned the stance of the Marape government on the issue amidst calls by foreign governments including France and New Zealand to ban seabed mining.
“When is the PNG government going to make its stance very clear on the issue of seabed mining in PNG and stop secret meetings with deep sea miners behind closed doors?” Mesulam asked.
“We are all aware that the Solwara1 project has cost the people of PNG more than K375 million.
“It was declared a failed project by former prime minister Peter O’Neill back in 2019. Why is the government still silent on this issue?
“We are raising these questions because it seems that the Marape-Rosso government does not have the guts to come out publicly to share the latest developments surrounding the Solwara 1 project – despite the moratorium at the Pacific Island Forum in 2019,” Mesulam said.
“Deep sea mining is not wanted!” said Caritas coordinator for Kavieng Catholic Diocese, John Momori.
“The PNG government should be following in the footsteps of other Pacific states like Fiji, Samoa, Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia which have now been joined by eight other countries calling for a pause, moratorium or complete ban.”
The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is demanding that the PNG government:
o Stand with other nations across the world to say no to seabed mining.
o Make public statements on the government’s position at national and high-level conferences like COP27.
o Cancel all existing seabed exploration and mining licenses in PNG.
The Alliance is also calling on political leaders in coastal provinces to come out publicly and state their position on seabed mining.
Yes indeed Arthur, The ongoing duplicity of the Whitehall Mandrins and their Ministerial counterparts of the day!.
Posted by: William Dunlop | 21 November 2022 at 09:36 AM
Meanwhile in the the UK....
12 May - The UK government has secretly issued deep sea mining licences to a company owned by an arms corporation - Lockheed Martin (www.greenpace.org.uk)
"The government didn’t want us to see these licences and it’s clear why. Staggeringly, there’s no sign of any clear Environmental Impact Assessments. These are used to evaluate any potential harmful impacts the project could cause to habitats or animals in the area. The government’s lax attitude towards something potentially so destructive is extremely worrying.
"Secondly, they were granted for longer than legally permitted – so they could even be unlawful. Greenpeace has written to the government highlighting this point but at the time of writing we’re yet to hear back from them.
"Finally, the nature of the licences mean that if certain basic parameters are met in the exploration phase then the UK would be locked into full-scale deep sea mining with Lockheed Martin’s subsidiary, UK Seabed Resources Ltd (UKSRL)."
It’s as if the government wants these licences kept a secret.
"Campaigners were trying to get their hands on these licences through the Freedom of Information requests (FOI) for nearly two years.
"Each time the UK government denied these requests, with the licences only being released by Lockheed Martin in March 2021.
"Back in March 2020 the UK government said it has “not agreed to sponsor or support … any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects until there is sufficient evidence”.
"Well that’s awkward… because the terms of these documents suggest they clearly have.
For nearly a decade our government has kept these licences hidden away from the reach of any public scrutiny and it’s clear why.
"It’s time to bring this dodgy dealing out of the dark depths and into the public eye. These licences simply aren’t compatible with the government’s claims to be a global ocean champion. Ocean champions focus on conservation and protection, not further exploitation. .."
Only part of the Greenpeace article.
Posted by: Arthur Williams | 21 November 2022 at 04:01 AM