Family feud

HIS son is the mining minister who is publicly supporting it, but New Ireland governor Sir Julius Chan reportedly remains opposed to Nautilus Mineral’s deepsea mining project in PNG.
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The governor and former prime minister told Radio New Zealand there was no need for the province to put its important marine environment at risk.

"We've got enough resources now to probably take us through the next two decades and we can afford the time to sit back and watch this exploratory work underwater taking place and in a much more controlled environment than in our waters," Chan said.

Yet his son Byron along with Prime Minister Peter O'Neill recently defended the project for complying with environmental and mining laws.

Potentially the project could be an issue which helps Byron step out of his father's shadow. In any event, the PNG government is a 30% stakeholder of the project, although there is an underway dispute resolution process between it and Nautilus over the joint venture agreement.

While needs to get more confirmation, it appears that the JV dispute did not originate from state nominee partner Petromin but from a department of the government.

Amid the pressure of a growing campaign against the project from foreign-based environmental groups, Nautilus is putting together an environmental plan for its deep sea mining plans.

Toronto-listed Nautilus aims to commission the seafloor production system at Solwara 1 by the end of 2013.

The Solwara 1 project is targeting an initial production rate of 1.2-1.3 million tonnes of dry ore, which is expected to equate to about 80,000 tonnes of copper and 150,000 ounces of gold per annum.


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