PNG Government decision on Solwara mine betrays community concerns

The PNG government's decision to sign a new agreement to participate in the controversial Solwara 1 experimental seabed mine has been condemned by community activist groups including  ACT NOW!, Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) and the Pacific Network on Globilisation (PANG).

"The government has completely failed to answer any of the serious community concerns about this project" says ACT NOW! Program Manager, Effrey Dademo.

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

"Communities have presented a 20,000 signature petition opposing the mine to the Minister but he has never given any response" says John Chitoa from BRG.

He adds, "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".

"The PNG government has also ignored a legal opinion which says the proposed mining will breach the international precautionary principal" says Maureen Penjueli of PANG. "This means any potential mining operation is wide open to legal challenge through the courts".

"Not only is the PNG government ignoring the wishes of Pacific people and scientific and legal opinion, it is going to waste hundreds of millions of kina of taxpayers money which could be much better spent on education and health services" adds Ms Dademo