Pacific churches back Lutheran opposition to experimental seabed mining

PCC to support Evangelical Lutheran Church PNG Initiative

Pacific Islands News Association

PROTEST 2 600 by 400The Pacific Conference of Churches has supported calls from a PNG church for a halt to Deep Sea Mining (DSM).

About 1.2 million members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG) have said no to Experimental Seabed Mining after its synod on Karkar Island, Madang Province.

The members have also given their church leaders approval to address the issue with the PNG Government.

PCC General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said the initiative was one of self-determination and Pacific people should be encouraged to decide what was best for their future.

“Just because Western economic models call for the use of deep sea mineral deposits does not mean we should mine the floor of the ocean with possible disruption of the eco-systems,” Rev Pihaatae said.

“Two weeks ago in the Cook Islands the region’s leading authority on seabed mining admitted there is not enough research with which to support the safety of this mining – we must be very careful.

“Therefore, the PCC stands in solidarity with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in PNG and says no to deep sea mining.”

This vote against seabed mining is in line with a Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly resolution in Honiara last year.

The church is expected to make a statement shortly, challenging the PNG government’s move to allow international and local corporations to take part in mining the seabed.

The church will also challenge Prime Minister Peter O’Neil as a member of the Lutheran church to act on this call from his people.

Lutherans make up 20 per cent of PNG’s population.

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Filed under Environmental impact, Financial returns, Human rights, Pacific region, Papua New Guinea

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