Community advocacy group, ACT NOW! is calling on the Honorable Minister for Environment and Conservation, John Pundari and the government of Papua New Guinea to ensure that the intended public forums to stimulate discourse and debate on the Solwara 1 Project are free, accessible and that independent scientific opinions be accepted.
A number of concerns that must be addressed during these forums:
- Papua New Guinea will be the first country worldwide to venture into this form of mineral extraction that utilizes the latest modifications to petroleum and gas exploration technology. Although the technology is not new, the methods are untested to date.
- Scientists are concerned at the lack of adequate scientific data. There is alos concern that this will compromise the effectiveness of the mitigations and Environmental Management plans and procedures developed by Nautilus.
- World renowned and respected Marine Conservation Biologist, Professor Richard Steiner (formerly Director of the Marine Advisory Program, University of Alaska) has stated. “The project most likely, will result in severe, prolonged, and perhaps region-wide impacts to a globally rare and poorly understood biological community, and it is clear that the EIS does not adequately assess many of these impacts.”
- The benefits to local people and the economy of PNG seem disproportionately low compared to the scale and risk of the project.
- With 154,000 km2 of exploratory licenses granted to Nautilus it is safe to assume that this endeavor will encompass and affect a large proportion of our coastal communities traditional boundaries.
Act Now! stresses that it is imperative that these public forums eventuate and are not confined to a select few, as has been the case in previous organized public forums for resource projects.
“The opportunity to be party to and contribute to this pool of information must be given to as many concerned Papua New Guineans as possible, especially those within the Solwara 1-16 proposed project areas.”
“Adequate notice must be given prior to the forum including date; time and venue. We appeal to you to ensure the forums be free of charge and the proceedings be disclosed publicly,” says Program Manager, Effrey Dademo
“You are accountable to the people of Papua New Guinea. Our best interest should be what you seek to serve at all times. Should the collective opinion be that a moratorium be placed on seabed mining, we fervently hope that you will comply.”