Coastal communities in East New Britain will be just as heavily impacted as any in New Ireland by the proposed Solwara 1 Experimental Seabed Mine, but the government is excluding the Province from any benefits sharing…
Coastal Area Benefit for offshore mining projects
Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | October 3, 2017
The Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management has created the concept of Coastal Area Benefit as the benefit sharing agreement instrument for offshore mining projects.
Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management Secretary, Harry Kore, says the concept was developed out of sentimental attachment locals have with the sea as a resource for their livelihood.
The CAB concept will be first implemented across several wards adjacent to the Solwara 1 Deep Sea Mine Project in New Ireland Province.
Secretary Kore said the CAB, as per its structure, is implemented with a ward that is directly opposite the offshore project.
However, the CAB can be extended to three more wards on both sides of the first ward, bringing in a maximum of seven wards as allowed under the Offshore Policy.
“The seven wards is the maximum, if there is only two or if there’s only one then those are the only wards that benefit. But if there is more than that is as far as we can go.”
The Coastal Area Benefit concept will be first introduced in seven wards along the West Coast of New Ireland Province.
They cover 22 villages and a population of over 8,000 people.
While the CAB for the New Irelanders is yet to be finalised, Secretary Kore says the concept aims to capture the locals’ attachment to the sea.
“Customarily we own the sea as well, but it’s communally owned by everybody in a particular area. And people have right of way to pass through your area for fishing or for customary activities out at sea, like shark callers.”
The offshore policy is one of the new policy developments contained in the revised Mining Act, which is yet to be endorsed by the National Executive Council.