MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Getting in too deep?

Published by MAC on 2007-07-19


Getting in too deep?

19th July 2007

As the fore-runner on deep sea mining, Nautilus Minerals, expands its exploration licenses communities in Papua New Guinea have used a press advert to ask some serious questions about the impacts on their livelihoods that they feel are not being answered.


Nautilus gets more licences

Post-Courier Online - http://www.postcourier.com.pg/20070720/frhome.htm

19th July 2007

DEEPSEA miner Nautilus Minerals Inc exploration activity in Papua New Guinea is set to increase after it has been granted eleven new exploration licences (EL) covering an area of 21,386 square kilometres.

The underwater exploration company's EL 1374 licence has been renewed upon advice from the Mineral Resources Authority.

Nautilus chief executive officer David Heydon said the area of exploration under its current licences or under application in PNG was larger than Greece, adding it symbolised the status of the company in the world as the leading exploration company.

"The grant of the first of our 81 exploration licence applications made in late 2006 ensures that we maintain a pipeline of acreage to explore so we can build on the phenomenal exploration discovery rate we achieved earlier this year when we found four (Solwara 5,6,7 and 8) new high grade sulphide mineralisation systems over a four week period," Mr Heydon said.

"Eight of the licences granted are subject to an agreement with Teck Cominco ("Teck"). As part of this agreement Teck has seconded certain personnel to Nautilus to assist the company with its US$20 million (K61,919,504) exploration program. Teck has also agreed to fund up to US$2 million (K6,191,950) of tenement/licence fees and rentals along with $US10 million (K30.8 million) of exploration, research and development and the development of specialised technical equipment to further improve the cost of discovery of these seafloor massive sulphide systems," he added.

Nautilus has among its largest shareholders four of the world's largest international resource companies, including Anglo American (6.4 per cent), Teck Cominco (5.8 per cent), Epion (16.8 per cent) and Barrick Gold (3.7per cent).


Tribal Villagers Demand Stop to Deep Sea Mining in Pacific Papua New Guinea a Testing Ground for Controversial Mining Method

Sea Turtle Restoration Project - http://www.seaturtles.org/press_release2.cfm?pressID=323

3rd July 2007

Bababag Island, Papua New Guinea - This week tribal villagers from Bagabag Island in Madang Province called on the government and all exploration and mining companies doing business in Papua New Guinea to stop pushing for the sea bed mining, a controversial new mining method. The villagers formally lodged their concerns and protests by running an advertisement in the national paper.

Deep sea mining is a new and untested mining method which would use remotely operated underwater mine cutters to scour the ocean floor to pump copper and gold ore to ships on the surface and then transfer to barges for land-based processing. While deep sea mining is regulated in international waters, it is not regulated in Papua New Guinea waters, a country in which coastal villagers depend on healthy marine ecosystems to feed their families.

More than 2000 indigenous tribal people of Bagabag Island have voiced their frustrations and absolute disgust over the manner in which the provincial and national governments have issued license to Nautilus Minerals Corporation Ltd to conduct deep sea mining activities near Bagabag Island and in the surrounding outer islands in the province.

Their spokesmen, Paul Daing, executive director for the Bagabag Community Development Association and Rev. Kinim Siloi, lecturer at the Martin Luther Seminary reiterated that they have not been consulted nor have they given their consent for the operations of this mine.

Mr. Daing and Rev. Kinim said they will not allow this mine to carry out its exploration as it will destroy their marine ecosystems which they depend on for their survival. Both spokesmen warned that they will take appropriate action to protect their way of life, their resources and their future generations if their call on the government and Nautilus is not taken heed of.

"For 50,000 years, the people of PNG have lived a subsistence life style in harmony with our natural environment. We have the right to determine our own destiny and at its own pace. Development in PNG should take place at its own pace, and not be imposed by multinational corporations who see our resources as profits, and the PNG government should put the interests and dreams of the people of PNG before that of outside interests,"? they stressed.

Mr. Daing and Rev. Kinim said Nautilus has no experience in sea bed mining and therefore do not want to see their ocean as a training ground for this company.

Information gathered from their research indicated that international scientists raises questions about the unknown impacts that nutrient rich water may have on their precious and life giving coral ecosystems. The representatives further raised concerns in regards to the volcanic activity in the area and pointed out that the operation of the mine in a highly volcanic area is of great concern to the safety of their villagers.

Land-based mining in Papua New Guinea has a poor environmental track record that often has had adverse impacts on local communities. Mr. Daing and Rev. Kinim added that the recent pollution and destruction of the Auga and Angabanga rivers in the Central province resulting from the waste dumped by the Tolukuma mine shows that land based mines are not adequately controlled and have set a precedent for ocean mining that must be corrected.

Furthermore they highlighted the negative impacts of mining on the communities and the environment experienced in Bougainville, OK Tedi and Pogera that out weights the limited and disproportionate economic benefits gained in these communities and fear that this is likely to happen in Madang with the sprouting of mining activities in the province.

"We are subsistence farmers, we have the right to control our own development. We had enough of being controlled by outsiders,"? they demanded.

The people of Bagabag Island wanted answers to the following questions:
"Where will we live if there is going to be a disaster by the mine?"
"Does the government and the MRDC have safety plans in place for us?" and
"We are experiencing a global problem of global warming and rise in sea level, why create another problem?"

"We call on the government of Madang as well as the National Government to take our concerns seriously into consideration. We demand the government to execute proper consultation processes," said Mr. Daing and Rev. Kinim

Please see web address to see our ad - http://www.seaturtles.org/pdf/BAGABAGAd.pdf

For more information, contact:

Paul Daing - Executive director for the Bagabag Co
011-675 853 3011
wence@seaturtles.org
http://www.seaturtles.org/pdf/BAGABAGAd.pdf

 

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