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Investors Warned To Keep Away From PNG Deep Sea Mine

Opponents of an experimental deep sea mining project off Papua New Guinea’s northern coast have called on investors to withdraw their support.

An alliance of communities from Madang, New Britain and New Ireland say the risks are too great.

“Judging from the monster size of the machines that will be tested in our seas, there is no question that this new frontier industry will destroy our environment and communities,” says Janet Tokepep from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors. “Our coastal communities live only 30 kilometres from the proposed mine site and our fishermen use the area around it daily.”

Canadian company Nautilus Minerals wants to tap into the mineral-rich waters to extract gold and copper. They say the seafloor contains a copper grade of seven per cent compared to that found in land-based mines of less than one per cent.

The company has told Pasifik News locals have nothing to fear. “The development of the Solwara 1 Project has involved an extremely comprehensive risk assessment process,” says John Elias from Nautilus. “As the first company in the world to commercially mine the seafloor, we are setting a high bar for the industry.”Nautilus says the project won’t release any hazardous chemicals into the water with no tailings and no blasting at the site.

But the Solwara Warriors, backed by the Ocean Foundation, aren’t convinced.

“This is not in the best interests of Papua New Guineans. We will not accept this sea bed mine. We put Nautilus and investors on notice that we will resist this venture and you will bear the costs,” warns the alliance’s Patrick Kaupun.

Nautilus says its financial backers remain confident. “Investors see many parallels with the development of offshore oil and gas, where today around 30 per cent of the world’s oil and gas production comes from offshore sources,” says John Elias.

The company was granted a lease in 2011 and intends to start mining the seafloor in 2018. ...read more on >> Pacific Mining News Website 

Source: Pasifik  News

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