Tag Archives: PNG Council of Churches

Cancel all seabed mining licences

PNG Council of Churches | Voice of Milne Bay | Alliance of Solwara Warriors | Bismarck Ramu Group | Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights | 28 June 2019 

Dear Hon. Prime Minister,

Congratulations on your recent election as the new leader of Papua New Guinea and for the establishment of your new cabinet! This fills our hearts with hope for a better future. 

We, the PNG Council of Churches, Voice of Milne Bay, Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Bismarck Ramu Group and the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights, would like to draw your attention to the issue of deep sea mining in our Bismarck and Solomon Seas.

We stand with the communities of the West Coast of New Ireland Province, Duke of York Islands, East New Britain, Madang, Manus and Milne Bay Provinces who oppose sea bed mining under the Alliance of Solwara Warriors. 

Together we call on the Papua New Guinean Government to cancel all Nautilus Minerals’ deep sea exploration licences, mining leases, and environment permits.

Our communities already face many unsustainable developments impacting our lands, oceans, lives, and livelihoods. This includes mining, logging, and oil palm operations. The risks and uncertainties of experimental seabed mining are too great to allow this industry to ever proceed in Papua New Guinea.

We have our own economies and natural resources to sustain and support our daily survival. We ask our government to invest in these.

Our coastal communities have always been connected with our seas. The sea is central to identity, livelihoods and culture practices. It cannot be separated. 

We simply do not want Seabed Mining in PNG’s Waters.

The former government made a bad investment decision by buying into Nautilus Minerals. Our country and ordinary citizens are paying the price. The $US120m equity, a loan from BSP, that the Government invested in the Solwara 1 project could have been used for medical supplies, education, and much-needed infrastructure. 

Nautilus Minerals is currently seeking protection for alleged bankruptcy and is re-arranging its affairs to protect the interests of its officers and two major shareholders. It seems like the company is not considering the impact on its shareholders which includes the PNG government.

We look to your leadership to ban seabed mining in our country and to use our nation’s funds wisely.

Therefore, we call on the new Papua New Guinea Government to:

1. Terminate the Solwara 1 mining lease and environmental permit, and all of Nautilus Minerals’ exploration licences

2. Demonstrate that it has learnt from the very costly mistakes of the former Government of purchasing a 15% stake in Nautilus Minerals and commit to:

a. Never taking up a stake in any deep sea mining venture in the future;

b. Not issuing any more exploration licences or mining leases for deep sea mining; and

c. Providing real and lasting support to communities right across Papua New Guinea by assisting thriving artisanal fisheries, growing the fledgling ocean based eco-tourism sector, and funding communications and transport infrastructure, education and health services. 

We anticipate your favourable response, and we thank you and wish all God’s blessings on your efforts as our new leader.

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

Churches want to ban seabed mining

Benny Geteng | Post Courier | 4 September 2018

THE PNG Council of Churches has called for a total ban on seabed mining in the country.

The Council of Churches representatives from the United, Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Evangelical Alliance Church of Manus, Baptist and Body of Christ made their stance known after considering the seriousness of the activity on the seabed.

The representatives said in a joint statement that the seabed mining will only bring destruction to the ocean life; and people are being forced by developed industrialised countries to go along.

“The world is watching PNG and it will be a joke to the world if PNG says yes to this destructive monster in the absence of a relevant national policy and legislative framework on off-shore seabed mining.

“Following the Madang Guidelines concluded in 1999, we call on the National Government to ensure a separate policy and legislation is developed before off-shore mining including deep seabed mining activities is commenced in the country,” they said.

The representatives said the government should also clarify to the churches and the people of PNG as to what consultation processes have been undertaken to develop relevant policy and legislation governing off-shore mining.

Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative reports have highlighted that PNG is not getting its fair share of resource revenue and as such the churches have expressed concern that the States equity participation in the Solwara 1 project will be a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We call on the government to be more focused on people development rather than profit development when making crucial decisions.

“The government must consult the people, ensuring citizens and the public are aware of the benefits and the negative impacts of these developments and allow them to make informed decisions on what the people think is best for them,” they said.

Nautilus Minerals Company is the developer of the Solwara 1 project located in the Bismarck Sea which will cover provinces such as New Ireland and East New Britain.

The National Government had obtained a loan of K400 million in 2014 from Bank South Pacific to acquire 15 per cent equity in the project.

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