Activist Group Slam Seabed Mine Decision

Source: Post Courier

THREE environment activist groups have condemned the state decision to fund the controversial seabed mining project in New Ireland Province.

Bismarck Ramu Group, Act Now and Pacific Network on Globilisation (PANG) raised concerns of the government neglect to fully consult the west coast landowners of the unknown environmental impact that will result in construction phase of the project.

This follows the signing by Bank South Pacific and Petromin Holdings Limited giving a nod for the developer Nautilus Minerals to go ahead with the preparation of the controversial Solwara 1 project.

NGO organisation ACT NOW program manager Effrey Dademo said that the government has completely failed to answer any of the serious community concerns about the project.

Ms Dademo claims that the environmental impacts are unknown, the mining system is completely untested, the potential financial returns are tiny and the mining will probably be unlawful.

Bismarch Ramu Group confirmed that over 20,000 landowners have signed a petition opposing the seabed mining project.

Mr John Chitoa said that the government has also ignored church leaders in PNG and across the Pacific who have voiced their opposition and the scientists who have expressed their serious concerns".

A vocal landowner Oigen Schulze claims that there is not enough consultation with people within the project impacted areas.

He said that the government officers have been quietly conducting meetings with only selected representatives from the project area while the rest of the people are not aware of what was happening.

Fiji-based Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG) said that PNG government has also ignored a legal opinion which says the proposed mining will breach the international precautionary principle

According to PANG this means any potential mining operation is wide open to legal challenge through the courts.