Julius Chan drops opposition to experimental seabed mining

With National Elections looming, New Ireland Premier Julius Chan has dropped his opposition to experimental seabed mining – despite community fears.

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Post Courier | April 27, 2017

THE New Ireland provincial government has expressed some reservations about the impact that the world’s first ever deep sea mine will have on the future of the people and the province.
However, it acknowledges that this is a national government project.
It is now opting to take a neutral stance on this project and in doing so to work with the project developer and Canadian miner to ensure there are benefits for those who will be impacted and the province at large.
These sentiments were expressed by New Ireland governor Sir Julius Chan during the opening of the Pubanom Bridge project opening at Rabehan village, West Coast Namatanai, early this week.
Sir Julius told guests and the villagers of the west coast and Central New Ireland who had attended this event that he had from the start not agreed to this project.
He said this is for the simple reason that the sea remained the mainstay for the people of island province.
He said given that this project was the first of its kind not just for PNG but the world and he feared the sea which he termed as ‘the people’s garden’ may be destroyed by the mining activities.
However, he said as the leader of the province he was faced with a dilemma.
“As the head of the province the question that hangs in the balance is? What if this project is good for the future generation and for the province and in taking the hardline on the project I stop this and close the door on it.
“In retrospect what if the project is bad and in saying yes I kill the future of our young generation and our province? I am at a crossroad as the head of this province.
“The future is unpredictable and we cannot predict it so I am strongly urging the developer that it must help me and my people and in doing so we must work together to ensure that if this project goes ahead that we donot destroy the future of this province,” the governor said.
Sir Julius had acknowledged the concerns by Cardinal John Ribat on the project however, at the same time had acknowledged also that there was new technology, science and know how also available and this could not stop the project from going ahead.
“ I have chosen to be neutral so if they can convince us that it is good then let us be the first but there with the agreement signed and because we will be the first of other similar projects we must ensure some benefits come back to the province,” Sir Julius said.

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