The decision by the New Zealand government to reject an experimental seabed mining proposal should prompt a review of similar plans in PNG says community campaign group, ACT NOW!
“The New Zealand decision to rejected seabed mining in its exclusive economic zone is highly relevant to the proposed mining activity by Nautilus Minerals in the Bismarck Sea”, says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.
The NZ Environment Protection Agency found the mining would not promote the sustainable management of natural resources and there was considerable uncertainty about the scale of the potential effects on the environment and existing interests including those of indigenous Maori and the fishing industry.
The EPA found that imposing stringent conditions, including a risk-based tiered adaptive management approach as proposed by the developer, on the proposed activity would not be sufficient to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of the activity.
In principle the proposed mining in NZ was identical to what is proposed by Nautilus Minerals: the excavation of the seafloor, removal to a surface vessel for the separation of the ore and the returning of the unwanted materials to the seabed; although the minerals to be extracted in the two cases are different.
ACT NOW! has written to relevant government departments in PNG enclosing a copy of the full NZ EPA decision and calling for a review of the application by Nautilus Minerals and a reevaluation of all licenses and approvals already granted.
“We believe that as in the NZ case, the proposed mining activity by Nautilus Minerals will not promote the sustainable management of our natural resources as required by law and there are considerable risks to the environment and existing interests that cannot be sufficiently managed or controlled”, says ACT NOW!.