One o’clock in the afternoon in any coastal area of PNG is humid and hot! Most people want to be sitting under the shade of mango tree – preferably with some nice ripe mangos and the pawpaw variety would be nicer even.
Pawpaw mangos in PNG are famously called ‘Rabaul mangos’ and the subject of today is Rabaul…well specifically Kokopo.
You see yesterday, while the rest of Papua New Guinea’s coastal residents avoided the scorching sun, about 300 students from the University of Natural Resources and Environment (UNRE), a UNRE few staff and a handful of primary school students with certain Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) (like East New Britain Sosel Eksen Komiti -ENBSEK) decided to walk – in the searing Kokopo sun. They all turned up at Omorong in Kokopo and braved that unforgiving sun all the way to Kokopo Market.
Seabed Mining off the coast of Rabaul to be exact, Nautilus Minerals Inc is all set to go forth with its Solwara 1 Project in the Bismark Sea and it seems the Provincial Government of East New Britain Province has no reservations about it.
Well these Papua Niugineans certainly did. They got together to raise awareness and voice their concerns to the rest of ENB, lobby their members of parliament and of course show the rest of PNG they are concerned.
A similar event was staged a week ago at the Bates Oval in Madang with similar if not greater turn out – and from whispers in the wind, it seems that there might be more of these awareness drives happening in various coastal areas throughout PNG until such time the government responds accordingly.
Like Mr Tutai from ENBSEK was quoted as saying in the Post Courier “PNG does not need to go into sea bed mining, there were already a lot of land-based mines in the country.”
Maybe it’s time you paid attention and read the writing on the wall…and banners…and posters…and the social media sites! Seems Papua Niugineans are very concerned – shouldn’t the government be just as concerned?