Nautilus Minerals and the government claim there are no landholders for them to deal with. But in the Pacific we regard the sea as being just as much a part of our land as our mountains and our rivers. People have rights to use the sea and to harvest the things that live there.
Neither the government nor the mining company have identified the communities along the coast of New Ireland and East New Britain that stand to be impacted by the mining. Nor have they obtained their free, prior, informed consent.
The government has also not said who will be entitled to benefit from royalty payments - this is storing up problems for the future.