Tag Archives: Solwara 1

PNG PM tries to fool the world with false lament on declining oceans

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill Photo: Joosep Martinson

Mr O’Neill conveniently forgot to tell the United Nations his govt is the first to allow experimental seabed mining and one of the very few to allow ocean dumping of toxic mine waste (DSTP), instead he chose to pretend he cares about our declining oceans…

PNG leader laments declining health of oceans

Radio New Zealand | 25 September 2017

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister has conveyed deep concern over the declining health of the world’s oceans.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Peter O’Neill said global fish stocks were being decimated and ecosystems destroyed by human activity.

He said while Pacific countries were feeling the greatest impacts, the problem was of global relevance that required greater global action.

“We share growing concerns over the declining health of our oceans and seas that sustain so many nations. Uncontrolled and poorly regulated human activities, including illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, pollutants and plastics and of course marine debris are killing our waterways.”

Mr O’Neill said many PNG communities were being forces to abandon their traditional homes because the decline of ocean health means loss of food and livelihoods for them.

According to him, PNG is doing what it can to address the problem – an integrated national oceans policy has sought a coherent cross-agency approach to ocean governance.

But he stressed the need for more action on reducing harmful human activities in relation to oceans.

Mr O’Neill welcomed the first-ever Oceans Conference in support of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on conservation and sustainable use of oceans.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Rabaul leaders voice opposition to experimental seabed mining

Seabed mining plans spark environmental concerns in Rabaul

The National aka The Loggers Times | August 23, 2017

LEADERS of Rabaul district in East New Britain want the Nautilus Minerals Explorations Limited to provide evidence that the proposed Solwara One seabed mining operation will not destroy environment and marine resources.

They are concerned about a potential impact on the coastal areas of New Ireland and East New Britain.

A committee which met at the office of Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat on  Thursday raised the concern in response to the intention by the company to carry out community projects on Watom Island and on the north coast of the Gazelle Peninsula.

Rabaul district administrator Marakan Uvano said Nautilus planned to build health facilities on the island and on the north coast of Rabaul as part of its services to the people who would be affected by the deep-sea mining operations.

Uvano said the company was already delivering health facilities in strategic locations along the west coast of New Ireland.

Statesman Sir Ronald Tovue urged the committee to voice its objection to seabed mining activities in the Bismarck Sea.

Marat has maintained his objection to under-sea mining operations since Nautilus applied to the government for mineral exploration rights in the Bismarck Sea which covered New Britain and New Ireland.

Marat warned that the safety of the livelihood of the coastal people of Rabaul would be affected if the Solwara One project was allowed to proceed.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, Papua New Guinea

Catholic bishops praise ‘systematic and coordinated opposition to seabed mining’

Catholic Bishops: “Members of Parliament and local Governors and other civic authorities have a particular duty to promote long term economic and social development and to be vigilant in guarding against any attempts by international businesses to exploit our common resource”

Catholic Bishops Urge Care for Sea & People of West Papua

Federation of Catholic Bishops | Scoop NZ | 14 August 2017

The Executive Committee of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania (Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, New Zealand, CEPAC – the rest of the Pacific) is currently meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. We come from a multitude of island nation States spread throughout the Pacific Ocean.

We are delighted to be here in Aotearoa New Zealand and have enjoyed greatly the beauty of its nature and the hospitality of the people. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to De La Salle College in South Auckland, the highlight of which was Mass for the entire school community. The boys’ enthusiastic participation in the liturgy uplifted our hearts. A further highlight was our presence at the City Mission on Friday evening where we served meals to the homeless, the mentally unwell and those suffering economic deprivation. This was a humbling experience during which we felt deeply Christ’s call to sit and walk alongside those who struggle or find themselves on the margins of society.

As Bishops of the Pacific, the place of the sea in the lives of the peoples we serve was a central focus of our meeting. Our common ocean is teeming with life and goodness. For many of our peoples the sea is their treasured source of nutrition, sustenance and livelihood. In solidarity with them, Psalm 107 resonates in our hearts: “those that do business in the great waters, they behold the world of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.”

We are acutely aware of the impact of climate change on island nations and some of our number have been visiting communities and recording the destruction of shorelines affecting them. On a happier note, we are heartened to learn of the systematic and coordinated opposition to seabed mining which turns the ocean floor into a stage of exploitative destruction of ocean habitats.

Our interest in the “Blue Economy” is to uphold a model of development that respects the fundamental importance of sustainability that looks way beyond any perceived short term economic windfall. Members of Parliament and local Governors and other civic authorities have a particular duty to promote long term economic and social development and to be vigilant in guarding against any attempts by international businesses to exploit our common resource. We applaud government, community and private initiatives to develop water ecotourism and sustainable sea fishing. We are not “anti-development”. We look to the common good and thus advocate for an integrated approach to development where local customary practices are respected and communities are assisted to grow employment opportunities.

A further focus has been the livelihood and cultural integrity of the people of West Papua. We do not promote a view in regard to independence. Indeed we believe that where this question becomes a single focus, care to uphold and strengthen local institutions of democracy may be overlooked. We echo the call for quality education in Papua, for fair and transparent access to jobs, training programmes and employment, for respect of land titles, and for clear boundaries between the role of defence and police forces and the role of commerce. The large majority of indigenous people of Papua seek peace and the various dialogue groups, advocating and witnessing to peaceful co-existence, are a source of hope for all.

Let us conclude with reference to Pope Francis’s inspiring encyclical Laudato Si which he opens with the beautiful canticle of Saint Francis of Assisi who also reminds our generation that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us.

We look forward to our Plenary Assembly in Port Moresby in April next year to which is invited all the bishops of Oceania. Our theme will be – ‘Care of our Common Home of Oceania: A sea of possibilities’.

  • Archbishop Sir John Cardinal Ribat MSC (President), Archbishop of Port Moresby, PNG.
  • Bishop Robert McGuckin (Deputy President) Bishop of Toowoomba, Australia.
  • Archbishop Michel Calvet SM, Archbishop of Noumea, New Caledonia.
  • Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Bishop Charles Drennan, Bishop of Palmerston North, New Zealand.
  • Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, Australia.

1 Comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Human rights, New Zealand, Pacific region, Papua New Guinea

Discovery could throw monkey wrench into deep-sea mining

Hydrothermal vents, known as black smokers, are relatively common at the Alarcon Rise hydrothermal vent field. Photo courtesy of MBARI

Todd Woody | Oceans Deeply | Aug. 3, 2017 

At the bottom of the ocean lie hydrothermal “chimneys” the height of 10-story buildings that spew superheated chemical fluids into an oxygen-deprived, lightless void. These hydrothermal vents nourish communities of otherworldly creatures – such as 6-foot-long tubeworms that lack mouths and digestive tracts – and create untold mineral wealth now coveted by countries and corporations.

The mineral deposits laid down over the eons by the sulfides emitted by hydrothermal vents contain copper, zinc, silver and gold. Over the next three weeks, the International Seabed Authority is meeting in Jamaica to, among other things, draft environmental regulations to govern the mining of the deep sea. The mission: to fulfill the United Nations-chartered organization’s mandate to preserve the biological diversity of the mostly unexplored seabed while allowing the extraction of metals that make possible smartphones, solar panels and other products used by the most committed environmentalist and rapacious industrialist alike.

That job just got harder.

A new discovery appears to blow a hole in a major premise of seabed mining – that if a marine ecosystem reliant on one hydrothermal vent field is destroyed, life will go on at adjacent vents and, over time, the mined site could be recolonized by the same species. Deep-sea expeditions led by scientists affiliated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute have found that hydrothermal vent fields as close as 45 miles to each other have spawned unique animal life based on local geology and the particular chemistry of the fluids flowing through the hydrothermal chimneys. The Alarcon Rise vent field at the southern end of the Gulf of California off Mexico, for instance, shares just seven of 61 animal species with the Pescadero Basin vent field less than 50 miles to the north, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“Someone might want to mine the Alarcon Rise for precious metals and would say the Pescadero Basin is right next door so there will be a movement of animals between the two. But that’s not the case,” said the study’s lead author, Shana Goffredi, a marine biologist at Occidental College in Los Angeles who works with MBARI.

In fact, the Pescadero Basin hydrothermal vent field and its marine life are unlike any yet discovered.

Similar to other hydrothermal vent fields, the Alarcon Rise, discovered on a 2012 MBARI expedition, lies at a depth of about 7,550 feet and is covered in geologically young lava that spews sulfide-rich liquids at temperatures as high as 680F.

Pescadero, on the other hand, lies at a depth of 12,000 feet and hydrothermal fluid flows through thick seafloor mud, creating pools of methane and hydrocarbons.

“This combination of habitat characteristics is unlike any seen on Earth,” said Goffredi of the Pescadero vent field, which MBARI discovered on a 2015 expedition. “There’s the possibility that these sites are unique but there’s also the possibility that as we explore other sites, we’ll find others like it or other unique sites.”

The scientists sent remote operated vehicles to the vent fields to video the marine life, retrieve biological specimens for DNA analysis and collect fluids for chemical analysis.

At least 10 species found by the MBARI expeditions are new to science. But all hydrothermal vent creatures are unique in that life does not rely on light – photosynthesis – but chemicals. Seabed bacteria synthesize the minerals from hydrothermal vents and provide nutrition to tubeworms, clams and other animals. “These are habitats that we didn’t know about until the 1970s and they rely on chemical energy, not light energy,” said Goffredi. “The base of the food chain and the foundational animals that create the rest of the habitat is this bacteria.”

The MBARI scientists found that even nearby thermal vent fields that share similar geological traits to Alarcon Rise developed unique ecosystems. Alarcon, Pescadero and two other relatively close vent fields shared only three species of 116 identified at the sites, with 73 occurring at only one vent field, according to the study.

“How important are these sites to the rest of the deep sea?” asked Goffredi. “Is it underpinning the health of the region? That’s something we’re still trying to figure out.”

The International Seabed Authority has issued exploration licenses to private companies and state-owned corporations that cover close to 500,000 square miles of the seabed outside national jurisdiction. (The vent fields explored by the MBARI scientists are within Mexico’s Exclusive Economic Zone that extends 200 miles from its coastline.)

Most exploration licenses are for areas of the seabed that contain potato-size polymetallic nodules rich in manganese, nickel and cobalt. Others are for ferromanganese crusts found in underwater mountains called seamounts. An expedition by scientists in the United Kingdom recently discovered that a single seamount in the Atlantic Ocean contained tellurium – a key material in some solar panels – in concentrations 50,000 times greater than found on land.

Goffredi said the MBARI expedition underscores the need to conduct biological surveys to determine the biodiversity of vent fields before allowing mining. “I imagine that mining companies will be visualizing these sites by sonar mapping so you can see the chimneys on the seafloor,” she said, noting that 285 vent fields have so far been discovered. “The habitats will look all the same but it’s not until you send an ROV or sensors down there that you understand that they’re different.”

In advance of the International Seabed Authority’s meeting this month to develop environmental regulations for deep-sea mining, a group of leading marine biologists published a letter in the journal Nature in July warning about the impact on seafloor biodiversity.

“Most mining-induced loss of biodiversity in the deep sea is likely to last forever on human timescales, given the very slow natural rates of recovery in affected ecosystems,” the scientists wrote. “It is incumbent on the International Seabed Authority to communicate to the public the potentially serious implications of this loss of biodiversity and ask for a response.”

 Todd Woody is executive editor for environment at News Deeply. This article originally appeared on Oceans Deeply, and you can find the original here. For important news about ocean health, you can sign up to the Oceans Deeply email list.

2 Comments

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Experimental Seabed Mining and the Controversial Solwara 1 Project in Papua New Guinea

The Deep Sea Mining Campaign is a collaboration of organizations and citizens from Papua New Guinea, Australia and Canada concerned with the likely impacts of deep sea mining on marine and coastal ecosystems and communities.

Peter Neill – Director, World Ocean Observatory | Huffington Post | July 11, 2017

It has been some time since we’ve reflected on the issue of deep sea mining — the search for minerals of all types on the ocean floor. We have seen already how marine resources are being over-exploited — over-fishing by international fisheries being the most egregious example, mining for sand for construction projects and the creation of artificial islands, the exploitation of coral reefs and certain marine species for medical innovations and the next cure for human diseases based on understanding and synthesis of how such organisms function.

The Deep Sea Mining Campaign, an organization based in Australia and Canada, has been following the saga of Solwara 1, proposed by Nautilus Inc. for offshore Papua New Guinea that continues to seek financing year after year since 2011. The project is basically a kind of corporate speculation premised on the lucrative idea of the availability of such minerals conceptually in the region — indeed the company has declined to conduct a preliminary economic study or environmental risk assessment, the shareholders essentially engaged in a long odds probability wager comparable to those who invested in marine salvagers attempts to find and excavate “pay-ships” lost at sea with purported vast cargos of silver and gold. The idea that they should be required to justify their endeavors to governments, third-world or otherwise, or to coastwise populations whose livelihood and lives depend on a healthy ocean from which they have harvested for centuries, is anathema.

Deep Sea Mining recently reported on the recent Nautilus Annual General Meeting where CEO Michael Johnston was asked:

· Is it true that without the normal economic and feasibility studies, the economic viability of Solwara 1 is unknown?

· Is it true that the risk to shareholders of losing their entire investment in Nautilus is high and the potential returns promoted by Nautilus are entirely speculative?

· Is this why Nautilus is struggling to obtain the investment to complete the construction of its vessel and equipment?

According to the release, Johnston declined to have his responses recorded and evaded providing clear answers. He did, however, affirm the description accuracy of the Solwara 1 project in the Annual Information Forms as a ‘high’ and ‘significant’ risk.

Local communities are also not interested in the Nautilus experiment. In recent weeks, two large forums against the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in the Bismarck Sea have been held in New Ireland and East New Britain provinces of Papua New Guinea. Supported by the Catholic Bishops and Caritas Papua New Guinea , both forums called for the halt of the Solwara 1 project and a complete ban on seabed mining in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. Here are some comments from those meetings:

Patrick Kitaun, Caritas PNG Coordinator:

“The Bismarck Sea is not a Laboratory for the world to experiment with seabed mining. Our ocean is our life! We get all our basics from the ocean so we need to protect it. We will not allow experimental seabed mining in Papua New Guinea. It must be stopped and banned for good.”

Jonathan Mesulam of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors:

“Nautilus, we are not guinea pigs for your mining experiment! We in the Pacific are custodians of the world’s largest ocean. These oceans are important to us as sources of food and livelihoods. They are vital for our culture and our very identity. In New Ireland Province, we are only 25 km away from the Solwara 1 site. It is right in the middle of our traditional fishing grounds. We will stand up for our rights!”

Vicar General, Father Vincent Takin of the Diocese of Kavieng:

“In order, for any development to take place, the people must be the object of development and not subject to it. The people have not been fully informed about the impacts of Solwara 1 on the social, cultural, physical and spiritual aspects of their lives. Therefore they cannot give their consent.”

Nautilus Inc. does not appear to be major international energy company with the assets available to force this project forward as others might. The opposition is well organized and vocal with arguments and expectations that the company cannot overcome. We hope. As with offshore oil exploration alongshore and it the deep ocean, this project is isolated in an opposing political context and shifting market. It is not for this time, for these people in these places, who have no concern for the loss of the `stranded assets of invisible gamblers in the face of the gain of conserving and sustaining their ocean resources for local benefit and the future.

Leave a comment

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

Can deep-sea mining avoid the environmental mistakes of mining on land?

Ambitious research aims to limit environmental damage on the sea floor – but some scientists fear mining this pitch black world will do more harm than good

Carol J Clouse | The Guardian | 28 June 2017 

Each of the three mining machines outweighs the 200-ton blue whale – the largest animal the world has ever known – and they look fearsome, especially the bulk-cutter designed to grind up the ocean floor with its enormous roller, covered in spikes.

If all goes as planned, come 2019 these giant remote-controlled robots will steamroll across the bottom of the Bismarck Sea off the coast of Papua New Guinea, chewing it up in pursuit of rich copper and gold reserves for a Canadian company called Nautilus Minerals. Nautilus chief executive Michael Johnston is anxious to demonstrate something besides making handsome profits. He also wants to show that his company has designed the mining expedition to have a small environmental footprint, especially when compared to the land-based counterpart.

“People have a view of mining, and they think we’re going to transport that view into the ocean, and it’s going to be ugly,” says Johnston, a soft-spoken New Zealand native and a 30-year veteran of mining.

“It’s important to all of us, especially those of us who’ve worked in mining for a number of years, to show people that you can do it better. I think a lot of people will be surprised,” says Johnson, 54, who joined Nautilus in 2006.

Johnston will have a lot to prove. The project, Solwara-1, will be the first ever attempt to extract minerals from the deep sea, and with the world watching closely.

Deep sea mining presents an ethical conundrum and an opportunity to avoid the costly environmental and social mistakes of land-based mining. That has prompted a group of policymakers, businesses and academic researchers to design rules that they hope will minimize environmental harm. They have proposed ideas that range from setting aside no-mining zones within a region rich in minerals to using technology that will reduce the extent of sediment plumes during dredging.

“We have the opportunity from the very beginning to understand the science, to understand the impact and to understand how to ameliorate the impacts,” says Dr James Hein, a senior scientist with the US Geological Survey. “This will really be the first time we can approach it from step one.”

But whether any of those ideas will work as designed to reduce environmental impact won’t be known until the machines are put to work. Some of Nautilus’s proposals, such as relocating some of the wildlife temporary to another location during mineral extraction – and recolonizing the spot afterward – attract strong skepticism.

“Nautilus’s claims that they can simply relocate parts of the site’s ecosystem elsewhere don’t stand up to scientific scrutiny, and the effectiveness of any measures to reduce other impacts will be difficult, if not impossible, to verify independently,” says Dr David Santillo, senior scientist at Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter in the UK.

Earth’s last mining frontier

The deep ocean plays a critical role in the Earth’s biosphere – it regulates global temperatures, stores carbon and provides habitat for a huge array of creatures. Scientists and environmental advocates fear that mining this pitch black, frigid world will not only kill any marine life that gets in the way of the machines but could potentially devastate far wider areas by stirring up plumes of sediment and introducing chemical, noise and light pollution.

Their worries underpin a sentiment that deep-sea mining appears inevitable. Demand for minerals to make virtually everything we use, including the phones and computers that run our lives, will only increase. Even technology that promises to cut our oil addiction and reduce emissions requires a reliable supply of raw materials, from tellurium for solar panels to lithium for electric vehicle batteries.

The vast treasure of untouched resources on the ocean floor – copper, zinc, cobalt, manganese, titanium and other minerals – has tantalized mining companies around the globe.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is a particularly a coveted mining area that’s roughly the size of the continental US and lies between Mexico and Hawaii. It contains potato-sized nodules of manganese, cobalt, nickel, copper and molybdenum worth roughly $25.2tn, according to Hein’s calculations. Not all of this amount would be economically recoverable, Hein says, but even 30% would equal $7.56tn.

Moreover, these minerals exist at much higher grades than on land, where supplies that are easily accessible have mostly been depleted and mining companies are blowing the tops off mountains, cutting down wider expanses of forests and digging ever-bigger holes to extract from harder-to-reach deposits.

Mining copper in the Andes, which produces about 40% of the world’s supply, would require the removal of 50 tons of barren rock to get to a 20 million ton ore deposit with 0.5% copper in it, Hein says. In a marine environment, you can find a 7% copper deposit sitting right on the seafloor.

Of the 28 exploratory contracts signed with the International Seabed Authority, which regulates undersea mining in international waters, 16 are for mining in the CCZ. The US hasn’t ratified the treaty and joined the ISA. US aerospace and defense firm Lockheed Martin has obtained two exploratory contracts through its British subsidiary UK Seabed Resources.

Deep-sea mining is an expensive undertaking. Nautilus has encountered delays for its roughly $480m project and still needs to raise $150m to $250m to move ahead.

Around the world, extensive work is now going into mapping ocean floor ecosystems and researching ways to mitigate the environmental impact of deep-sea mining. In the US, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has done exploratory and mapping work off the coast of Hawaii, along with projects by university researchers.

The European Union has contributed millions of dollars to organizations such as MIDAS (Managing Impacts of Deep-Sea Resource Exploitation), and Blue Mining, an international consortium of 19 industry and research organizations.

A UK-funded expedition conducted the first ever controlled deep-sea sediment plume experiment in the Atlantic last year, about 300 miles from the Canary Islands. Sediment plumes are big dust clouds kicked up by mineral extraction, and scientists worry that the plumes could travel great distances, choking sea life along the way.

“There’s a lot more research to be done on sediment plumes,” says Dr Bramley Murton, who led the expedition and heads the marine mineral research at the UK’s National Oceanography Center. “But we got some data and, at the moment, the initial indication is that we can’t see the plume from a kilometer, or roughly 0.6 miles, away.”

That’s an encouraging result, because scientists previously suspected that sediment plumes would travel much further.

Another way to minimize impact is to aside protected areas within mining zones. Back in 2013, a team of scientists led by Dr Craig Smith, a professor of oceanography in University of Hawaii’s Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology, recommended the ISA to designate roughly a quarter of the CCZ as a protected area. The ISA accepted the team’s recommendations provisionally but will need to decide whether to include them in the final rules, which could take three to five years to finalize.

Improving the precision of mining robots will also help to reduce environmental disturbances. Companies with the technology that could solve the problem include the Seattle-based BluHaptics, which has developed software that enables a robot to recalibrate its aim and movement to improve precision by learning from each trip it makes to the seabed.

“We use machine learning software to identify and track objects in real time, with high resolution situational awareness, so it can see through sediment or oil spills,” says Don Pickering, BluHaptics’ CEO.

What will Nautilus do?

At the Solwara-1 site, 25km off the Papua New Guinea coast, Nautilus plans to launch its project from a ship 230 meters long and 40 meters wide, with roughly 130 employees on it. The company will go after minerals born 1,000–3,000 meters deep in volcanically active zones, around vents that spurt super hot, acidic water containing metals dissolved from the earth’s crust. The active vents are populated by numerous species, including tubeworms, clams, snails, shrimp, crabs and many species that are not yet known.

The three Nautilus robots, designed by UK-based SMD, will be lowered into the water, break up the rocks and collect them to be piped back to the vessel.

The ore will then be transported by smaller boats to China and sold to the Tongling Nonferrous Metals Group Holding Co. The ship plans to remain at the first project site for roughly three years, bringing up 2.5 million metric tons of ore containing metals worth roughly $1.5bn, give or take shifts in commodity prices.

To address sediment plumes, SMD designed the robots to suck the plume into the slurry with the ore and pump it up into the vessel. “Our ultimate goal is to recover as much of the material as possible, not to blow it away,” Johnston says.

Using a steel riser and pump system designed by GE Oil & Gas, once the ore is dropped into the vessel, the icy water will be pumped back down to the sea floor so it doesn’t mix with the warmer surface water and potentially cause algae blooms and other environmental disturbances. To minimize the use of bright light, which could disrupt marine life in the pitch black world, Nautilus will use sonar and digital cameras to create 3D maps to guide its extraction with the remotely operated robots.

“These populations grow fast and they reproduce a lot, so in some sense one can argue that they might recover quickly. But the environmental issue is that these habitats are relatively rare on the sea floor, and they’re different from one site to the next because the animals have adapted to the fluid chemistries,” says Dr Cindy Lee Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory in North Carolina and a member of the Deep-Ocean Stewardship Initiative, an international group of scientists, lawyers and advocates that makes environmental recommendations to the ISA.

“We aren’t talking about stopping mining, just thinking about how to do it well. We can map these environments to show where the highest density of animals is and avoid those high-density places. That’s a very rational approach,” says Van Dover. “I’m reasonably optimistic that we can come up with progressive environmental regulations.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Environmental impact, Papua New Guinea

Nautilus says mine will not be in breach of law

Post Courier | June 28, 2017

Canadian miner, NAUTILUS Minerals, asserts the world’s first deep sea mine to be developed in Papua New Guinea, says it will not be in breach of any international laws.

The company was responding to recent reports published by the Catholic Professionals Society, which had claimed there would be breach to the freedom of navigation by international vessels, if the project gets off the ground.

The Solwara-1 project, will be developed in the waters between New Ireland and East New Britain provinces.

In a statement sent to the Post-Courier yesterday, the Canadian miner said: “Nautilus would like to clarify that its operations will not be in breach of international laws.”

“While there will be an exclusion zone around its operations, it is only 1.25-km in radius.”

“This was determined by placing a 500 meter buffer around all mining areas.”

“This buffer area was approved by the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) in September 2016, with the relevant information sent to the Australian Hydrographic Service for inclusion on the relevant charts,” the miner said.

Nautilus said the exclusion zone will ensure shipping does not interfere with mining operations, and will no way impede shipping passing through the St George passage (it doesn’t interfere with the Right of Passage as guaranteed by UNCLOS).

“This exclusion zone is no different to the exclusion zone around an oil and gas production platform, for which, there are thousands all around the world and they too are not in breach of international law.”

“Its position will be marked on maritime charts and will be noted by all vessels and vessel captains,” the firm further stated.

Questions were put to NMSA to comment but the state agency had yet to respond at the time this paper went to press.

Leave a comment

Filed under Papua New Guinea