Opposition to deep-sea mining builds

COASTAL opponents to Nautilus Mineral’s pioneering Solwara-1 deep-sea mining project in Papua New Guinea’s Bismarck Sea will reportedly lobby Mining Minister Byron Chan to delay the project.
Opposition to deep-sea mining builds Opposition to deep-sea mining builds Opposition to deep-sea mining builds Opposition to deep-sea mining builds Opposition to deep-sea mining builds

According to Radio New Zealand, New Ireland Province's Namatanai District Council of Women president Jane Kesno will seek the delay from Chan, who is also the member of parliament for the area, to gain more information about the project.

"You know our people are not that educated to the level where they can either oppose or accept or participate in these forms of negotiations taking place," she told the radio station.

"Most of these discussions and negotiations take place in hotels, in towns, in Port Moresby, in places far away from those communities."

Nautilus already has a 20-year mining licence and finally sanctioned the Solwara-1 project last month, with first production from innovative seafloor production tools targeting the December quarter of 2013.

Initial seafloor mining at Solwara is designed to hit a production rate of 1.2 million tonnes per annum of dry ore delivered to Rabaul Port, with a ramp-up option to hit 1.8Mtpa.

Using a 2.6% copper cut-off grade, the Solwara 1 project hosts 1.03Mt of indicated resources grading 7.2% copper, 5 grams per tonne of gold, 23gpt silver and 0.4% zinc.

By the same cut-off measure, the inferred resources are 1540t grading 8.1% copper, 6.4gpt gold, 34gpt silver and 0.9% zinc.

The nearby Solwara-12 deposit is emerging as another opportunity to extend underwater mining.

In October, Chan revealed he planned to "fast-track" work on the new Seabed Mining Act, according to The National.

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