Tag Archives: New Ireland

Locals file case to stop seabed mining

Jemimah Sukbat | Loop PNG | December 8, 2017

The Solwara Alliance has filed a case against the government at the Waigani National Court to stop the operation of seabed mining in West Coast New Ireland.

Filed on Thursday afternoon, the Alliance wants the Government to make public all necessary and relevant documents under seabed mining agreement, who is involved in approving the project and on what grounds and why the government is still pursuing the project.

Jonathan Mesulam, a West Coast New Irelander and a member of the Solwara Alliance, says the people in the village are strongly against seabed mining because their livelihood will be affected by the project. They want the Government to ban the project.

“No one knows the environmental impacts of this project. There is also no independent environmental studies so why is the government pushing for this project?

“There will be negative impacts in the local and national economy, especially the fisheries sector,” says Mesulam, who is currently in Port Moresby to file the case.

“Solwara 1 is not a good investment, it will only last for three years.”

They want the developer, Nautilus Minerals Limited, to pack up and leave by next year.

When asked if the villagers were consulted before the agreement was signed, Mesulam said the developer never consulted the locals.

“This MOA was signed by a few people who only think about themselves.”

From the footages taken from the villages along West Coast New Ireland, the people say they own both the land and sea and the mining will greatly affect their lifestyle, especially in shark-calling.

Mesulam said New Ireland does not need a seabed mine. They already have fish, cocoa, coconut and other resources where they can depend on for economic benefits.

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Villagers oppose Solwara 1 project

Concerns have been raised on how seabed mining would affect marine life/resources of the Bismarck Sea

Jemimah Sukbat | Loop PNG | December 4, 2017

West Coast New Ireland villagers near the Solwara 1 project strongly oppose the Nautilus Minerals Limited operation.

John Merebo, a Messi villager, revealed to Loop PNG that West Coast New Irelanders were never part of the agreement when it was signed.

The seabed mining agreement was signed in 2012 by the then Mining Minister and Namatanai MP Byron Chan, the New Ireland Provincial Government and National Government.

He said they do not want the development of the project to go on because they do not see any benefits in it.

“There is not a lot of economic activity out of the project because everything will be done by the company off shore.”

But since the government has already signed for the project, Merebo said they want to be part of the negotiating team in the next part of the operation. This is to discuss spin-off benefits.

Meanwhile, during a recent conference, UPNG Professor Chalapan Kaluwin said seabed mining would be disastrous for New Ireland Province.

Professor Kaluwin stated the project could be catastrophic for our waters given the fact that PNG has 20 percent of the world’s tuna; it also has the world’s warmest waters and fastest currents.

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Namatanai MP Schnaubelt queries Lihir Royalties

NBC News/PNG Today 

Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt has tasked the New Ireland Provincial Government to explain the whereabouts of his district’s share of mine royalties, as per an Agreement with the Lihir Gold Mine.

He says since the start of the mine’s operations in 2007, his District has not received its 20 per cent share of the funds.

Mr Schnaubelt told NBC Radio the New Ireland Government must furnish expenditure reports of the payments.

“The concern now is the 50% portion blong New Ireland Provincial Government which is responsible to dispatch 20% to Namatanai district and 20% to Kavieng district na 10 percent is retained by the provincial government blo administration purposes.

“Orait, the provincial government component paid to date is K264m and you know since 2007 i kam nao, Namatanai district and Kavieng district have missed out on their 20% share.”

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New Britain to be excluded from Solwara 1 benefit sharing

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.

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Nautilus finally admits ‘limited benefits in Solwara One project’

Post Courier | October 1, 2017

Given that there will be minimal spin-off benefits to landowners as a result of the world’s first deep sea mine, the developer says it will heavily focus on its community service obligation.

The issue of benefits has been one of the main concerns of the leaders of both New Ireland and East New Britain who were in Port Moresby last week to witness the trials being conducted on the Nautilus Minerals Inc’s mining equipment .

For the ENB delegation the issue had been raised by Florence Paisparea who is the forest and environmental coordinator of the ENB provincial administration.

Nautilus Minerals Inc vice president for the Papua New Guinea operations, Adam Wright said unlike the traditional land-based mines, the foot print of the Solwara One project, would be quite small and likewise the benefits.

Mr Wright said employment would be limited as the firm will be employing about 200 people compared to Newcrest Lihir’s 3000.

He said other spin-off business would also be limited as its operations would be out at sea and there would not need services including buses, security and laundry services all associated with the land-based mines.

Mr Wright said it had already begun implementing this project especially in the coastal areas along the West Coast of New Ireland in the coastal areas of benefits (CAB) ahead of production.

Mr Wright told the leaders from ENB the firm would be delivering its first project-a community health post on Wotum Island by the year’s end.

He said apart from health, education, infrastructure development, and business development would be other focus areas.

“What we want to do is help generate businesses that will still be going once we are gone. We are looking at areas of cocoa and copra and trying to help people rehabilitate plantations and get those industries running.

Royalty was stated as another benefit, which Mr Wright said would be paid when the company begins production.

He said from discussions held, the intention is to have that distributed down to the local level government level.
Mr Wright said there is already a draft agreement, which once finalised would be signed off.

He added that this is the agreement that will address all these issues.

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Nautilus Giant Seabed Mining Machines Will Wreak Havoc

Canadian company Nautilus is busy showing off its seabed mining machinery to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain – landowners and community leaders are unimpressed.

Pacific Scoop | September 29, 2017

Coastal communities across the Bismarck Sea under the umbrella of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors claim that Nautilus and the PNG Government do not have their consent to go ahead with experimental seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea.

“Who are these leaders from New Ireland province that Nautilus has hand selected?”, said Jonathan Mesulam of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors.

“I am from the West Coast of New Ireland Province and I hear my people’s concerns. Landowners on the west coast of New Ireland Province live only 25km from the Solwara 1 seabed mining site.”

“In June this year, more than 300 hundred people attended forums held in Namatanai and Kokopo hosted by Caritas Kavieng and the Archbishop of Rabaul. Papua New Guineans are worried about the impacts of this Canadian company’s experiment”, claimed Mr. Mesulam.

”There are too many unknowns and challenges in operating this equipment in our precious oceans. These are giant instruments of torture for our marine environment that is already stressed by pollution, over fishing and rising sea levels. Why is our Government burdening our island and coastal communities with extra problems?”

Lucielle Paru of the Central Province Pressure Group said “My community lives near the testing site at Motukea Island. We do not support the development of this equipment. The dockyard on Motukea Island is nothing like the conditions on the sea floor where the mining tools will be used. These trials will not provide any evidence that the equipment is safe to use. Did the Government do any due diligence checks before it used the money of Papua New Guineans to purchase a 15% share in such a high-risk project?”

“It is foreign to Melanesian culture to become so excited about giant machinery. Our traditions protect community and nature. This foreign company is pushing their values for their own financial gain at the expense of our people. Once they try out their destructive equipment in the Bismarck sea they plan to take it to mine all around the PNG coastline. No one living next to the sea will be safe.”

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said, “Nautilus is showing off its equipment to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain to try and buy support for Solwara 1. They know local communities strongly oppose this project. Nautilus is also desperately trying to convince investors that they are making progress. The company is struggling financially because Solwara 1 is very risky economically as well as environmentally.”

“This level of risk has scared off responsible investors who refuse to gamble with people’s lives and futures.”

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Nautilus treats landowners like fools and idiots

These giant machines will crawl across the ocean floor, tearing up the seabed in a strip mining operation and Nautilus expects us to believe there will be zero impact!

Our politicians may have been idiots to agree to this crazy experiment but Nautilus should not treat all Papua New Guineans as ignorant fools!!! 

Deep sea mining to have zero impact: Nautilus

Cedric Patjole | PNG Loop | September 28, 2017

Nautilus Minerals has boldly stated that Solwara 1 Deep Sea Mine will have zero impact on marine life and coastal communities in New Ireland Province.

This was affirmed during a site tour of Nautilus’s Sea Floor Productions Tools outside Port Moresby (SPT) by local leaders from New Ireland Province.

Nautilus said the technology employed for the project did not require explosives or chemicals and are confident there will not be any environmental impact.

Several local and provincial leaders from New Ireland Province, arrived in Port Moresby on Monday to see first hand the sea floor Production Tools being tested at Motukea Island outside the capital city.

The tour is part of Natuilus’s continuous effort to educate leaders and New Irelanders about the operation of the SPT’s which they assured will have no impact on the marine life and coastal villages.

Nautilus Vice President of PNG Operations, Adam Wright, gave a presentation about how the mining operations will be carried out, highlighting the technology used that will avoid any adverse impact.

“There will be no impact on the fish, there will be no impact on the reef and on the coastal communities,” said Wright.

The leaders had a close look at SPT’s which will be used on the sea floor of the Solwara 1 Project.

They included the bulk cutter (BC) and collecting machine (CM). The auxiliary cutter (AC), the third in Nautilus;s arsenal, was undergoing live tests while a tour of the control room was also included.

One local leader said after the tour that while they appreciate Nautilus’s efforts in educating them on how their operations will not affect the livelihoods of the people, he said they are still unsure but will only see the outcome.

He added they have agreements and understandings in place to ensure Nautilus carry’s out its business with the interest of the people at heart.

“Gavman givim tok orait pinins lo displa mine so mipla bai lukluk tasol. But yes mipla gat ol disla (agreements) where bai mipla toktok long em,” said John Ezra of Ward Four Namatanai LLG.

While the Mining Lease for the project had been branted [sic] in 2011, production equipment for the project is still in development.

While tests on the SPT’s are still underway , the ‘Riser and Lifting System (RALS) has just been completed and undergoing assessments while the mssive Production and Support Vessel (PSV) is still in development.

Nautilus expects first shipment from Solwara 1 Mine to begin in 18 months time after putting the project together for the last 10 years.

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