The license was granted under the former Somare government (PNG) to the Canadian company Nautilus for its Solwara 1 mine. This would have been the first experimental seabed mining in the world, if the NGO and the current PNG government had not entervened.
Papua New Guinea is ranked 150th out of 176 countries in corruption, and many of us had no idea that such a project was being signed by the Somare Government. It wasn't until the O'Neill Namah Goverment took-over that the Project was scrapped and funding was not given to Nautilus (a Canadian Oil Company)
Nautilus are now taking the PNG governemnt to court, which is obsurd, considering the unknown result of what an experiment like this would cause to the underwater eco-system, not only in the Pacific but our entire oceans.
There are lots of risks to this experiment, and Papua New Guineans (esp. those living in coastal areas) do not want to be guinea pigs to such a Project that could destroy their main food source, considering that most public services have not reached them yet.
We were never ready to make such a deal, and should not be obligated by a contract that the Former government had signed without the consent of its people.
Wences Magun, national coordinator for Mas Kagin Tapani in Papua New Guinea said, “At this point local communities have NOT sanctioned this project. We can't rely on our governments or companies like Nautilus to tell us that seabed mining is good, is safe. No one knows what the impacts of this form of mining will be. We are being used us as guinea pigs in a sea bed mining experiment.”
Mr Magun says the group's advisors - which include scientists and lawyers - have "clearly indicated that there is going to be damage to the ecological system".
"Nobody knows what the impact of the damage is going to be to the marine ecosystem because no one has ever done seabed mining in the world," he said.
"It's only based on assumptions... we cannot learn from lessons learnt in the past and mitigate any effect that does happen should the seabed mining take place."
For further info about Deep Sea Mining and Solwara 1 go to http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org
Nautilus Minerals Inc. is set to embark on the unprecedented extraction of metals from the sea floor.
Its Solwara 1 project will extract gold and copper from the floor of the Bismarck Sea in Papua New Guinea.
This operation is the first commercial deep sea mining in the world. There are many uncertainties about this experimental industry including the lack of knowledge about the unique properties and biodiversity of the hydrothermal vent systems that are being mined.
What is certain about deep sea mining is that impacts are associated with each step of the mining process. Impacts for local communities translate into costs and liabilities and losses for you –
We are just barely starting to understand deep sea ecosystems. Some scientists believe that hydrothermal vents are where life first started on earth. If so, these ecosystems could provide insights into the evolution of life.
Nautilus’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Solwara 1 identifies several direct impacts – such as the destruction of tens of thousands of hydrothermal vents and their unique ecosystems over an 11 ha of sea floor.