Claims by Nautilus Minerals that its experimental seabed mining will be safe are not credible. As well as a flawed scientific analysis the company is not being transparent about its proposed systems, is not discussing the risky shipment and transshipment of the mined deposits and is not disclosing how and where the toxic processing wastes will be dumped.
On Friday, Nautilus’s Vice President for Corporate Communications, Joe Dowling went on radio to defend the company’s experimental seabed mining. He claimed that Nautlius has created a closed mining system that will not affect the upper levels of the ocean. But scientists say there is no such thing as a closed system in the marine environment. The ocean is one interconnected space. What happens on the bottom of the ocean will affect the surface layers – its just a matter of time.
Scientists also want the systems developed by Nautlius to be released into the public domain so they can be subject to proper scrutiny.
Scientists and academics are also pointing out that as well as the risks from the seabed mining operation itself, Nautilus is yet to say where and how the deposits dug up from the seabed will be processed and how the toxic wastes will be disposed of. This issue was carefully avoided by Dowling in his media interview on Friday. Papua New Guinea has controversially allowed toxic waste from the new Ramu nickel mine to be dumped straight into the ocean and Nautilus have not ruled out that they could do the same.
As well as avoiding the topic of processing and toxic wastes, Dowling was also careful in his comments not to discuss the risks inherent in the barging of the deposits dug from the sea floor to Rabaul where they will be stored on land before being transshipped to the as yet undisclosed processing plant.
Several reports have been released that undermine Nautilus’s claims about its experimental seabed mining:
- Out of Our Depth
- Nautilus EIS for experimental seabed mining not fit for its purpose
- Nautilus Minerals Inc
You can read Dowlings interview here – Nautilus defends experimental seabed mining