Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine

AN ALLIANCE of non-government organisations has pledged to take the Papua New Guinea government to court over the world’s first ocean bed copper-gold mine.
Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine Court bid to stop PNG seabed mine

The groups are mounting a legal challenge to revoke a government licence granted to Toronto-based company Nautilus Minerals for the Solwara-1 project.

Nautilus plans to remove water from ore pumped up from the ocean floor before transferring the mineral to a transport ship.

The project will target an initial mining rate of 1.2-1.3 million tonnes per annum of dry ore to produce about 80,000t per annum of copper and 150,000 ounces per annum of gold.

NGO Stop Experimental Seabed Mining in the Pacific spokesman Wenceslas Magun told ABC Pacific Beat the current government had been "arrogant and ignorant" despite effort to stop the project.

"Just this fear that it's going to threaten our marine environment, our marine ecological system and affecting the livelihood of the people that benefit off our marine resources," he said.

"The majority of Papua New Guineans that live off the marine resources do not know what the threats of seabed mining is going to cost to the marine environment.

"Nobody knows what the impact of the damage is going to be to the marine ecosystem because no one has ever done seabed mining in the world.

"It's only based on assumptions. We cannot learn from lessons learnt in the past and mitigate any effect that does happen should the seabed mining take place."

Magun said the group's scientists and lawyers had clearly indicated that would be damage to the ecological system and there was sufficient grounds to take the matter to court.

"Based on the information from our experts, we are going to strategise how we are going to address the issue," he added.

"We know that other countries like in Australia, the people have banned attempts to mine their sea floor.

"And the government of Australia, the state of Queensland had adhered to their appeal.

"The PNG government has not heard our appeal. That is why we are taking this matter to court."

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