World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Nautilus seabed mining experiment falters

Media Release

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Nautilus seabed mining experiment falters

Dispute with PNG government, opposition by Pacific and Canadian citizens, financing woes

TORONTO. Today Canadians are standing in solidarity with civil society in the Pacific against deep sea mining. Canadian company, Nautilus Inc, is leading the rush to mine the sea floor in the Pacific. If it goes ahead, its Solwara 1 project in the Bismark Sea of Papua New Guinea will be the world’s first commercial deep sea mine.

However, a growing call from Pacific communities to stop seabed mining, the PNG Government’s refusal to contribute to development costs and the breakdown of a financing agreement with an European ship builder questions the viability of an already uncertain venture. Not a good look as Nautilus faces its AGM in Toronto today. Nautilus stocks have already dropped dramatically over the past couple of weeks.

Dr. Catherine Coumans, Mining Watch Canada said, “Canadian mining companies operate around the world and dominate the sector in number. But Canada does not regulate their activities to prevent them profiting from weak protection for the environment, workers, and human rights in some host countries.”

“Now, in spite of very serious concerns that have been raised by scientists and local citizens, we have Nautilus proposing to mine environmentally, socially and culturally significant seabeds in the Pacific, an activity that would not be allowed in Canadian waters.”

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.”

Sharon Diave-Nerius from the East New Britain Social Action Committee said, “The recent blows to Nautilus are welcome news for communities in Papua New Guinea. But there are plenty of other companies and governments pushing for this experimental industry in the Pacific to get started.”

“The speed with which the PNG Government approved the EIS and granted the licence to Nautilus did not pay respect to the customary norms and cultural heritage of the indigenous people of the Bismarck Archipelago.

“Experimental mining of our seabeds is not going to provide any direct services or benefits for local communities.”

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, campaign coordinator for the Deep Sea Mining campaign in Australia and author of Out of Our Depth: Mining the Ocean Floor in Papua New Guinea said, “The Nautilus EIS is deeply flawed. Even the company admits to moderate environmental risk. Independent analysis of the EIS indicates far higher risks.”

“Investors should be aware that contiguous nature of the ocean means that impacts will not be isolated to the 11 ha area of the Solwara 1 site. They will spread far and wide with liabilities to match. For example, stocks of tuna and other migratory species are likely to be contaminated by heavy metals and health of communities and ecosystems across the Pacific could be affected.”

Groups across the Pacific have a petition calling for Pacific governments to stop experimental seabed mining. Pacific women are currently promoting the 'stop experimental seabed mining' message at the international Rio+20 conference in Brazil. In New Zealand community have come together to campaign against seabed mining of their black sands. Meanwhile local groups and fishing industries opposing marine phosphate mining off the coast of Namibia have started to make links with people in the Pacific region.

Join us on Facebook:
Join us on Twitter:
Join us on Youtube:
Sign the petition:


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


UN News: Rare Coral Reef Discovered Near Tahiti Is ‘Like A Work Of Art’, Says Diver
One of the largest coral reefs in the world has been discovered by a UN-supported scientific mission off the coast of Tahiti. Announcing the stunning find on Thursday, UNESCO said that divers had explored large rose-shaped corals spanning some three kilometres, at depths of between 30 and 65 metres... More>>

Tonga Eruption: At Least 3 Dead, Amid Severe Destruction
At least three people have died in Tonga following the massive volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami wave that hit over the weekend. Homes and other buildings across the archipelago have suffered major damage... More>>

Save The Children: Tonga Volcano Ash And Smoke Cause Concern For Air And Water Safety
Families in Tonga are at risk of exposure to unsafe air and water due to ash and smoke from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that erupted on Saturday, reports Save the Children...

Ethiopia: UN Chief Lauds ‘Demonstrable Effort To Make Peace’

The UN Secretary-General on Wednesday said he was “delighted” to learn that “a demonstrable effort to make peace” in Ethiopia is finally underway, according to information relayed to him by the African Union High Representative for the Horn of Africa... More>>

Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
Recent airstrikes on camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, and left many more injured... More>>

UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

2021 marked the 25th year in a row in which the key Greenland ice sheet lost more mass during the melting season, than it gained during the winter, according to a new UN-endorsed report issued on Friday... More>>