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MEDIA RELEASE

The Sinking Titanic: The German Government facilitating Deep Sea Mining

 

NGOs and civil society from Papua New Guinea, Australia, Germany and around the world are calling for a ban on seabed mining. They challenge the development of regulations[1] by the International Sea Bed Authority (ISA) and the German Government’s push to strengthen these regulations this week at a meeting in Berlin[2].

“Enough is enough!” stated Pastor Matei from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Solwara 1 Project is risky business as it is an experiment and people do not want to be used as guinea pigs. The Bismarck Sea is not a science laboratory for Nautilus Minerals Inc.

“People from the Pacific are custodians of the world’s largest oceans and it is these oceans that connect everyone in the Pacific. The oceans are as important as land. They are sources of food and livelihoods and they are of strong cultural and spiritual importance. Experimental seabed mining threatens this.”

“The demand for a ban on deep sea mining reflects the views of communities in PNG and across the Pacific. Our opposition is strong and growing[3].”

Natalie Lowrey, Deep Sea Mining campaign stated, “The demand by Pacific communities for a ban on this frontier industry is joined by the Deep Sea Mining campaign and leading NGOs in Germany. The development of regulations for deep sea mining is akin to loading more passengers onto a sinking Titanic. Report after report[4] demonstrate that the world’s oceans are already on the brink of peril.”

“Recent research from the MIDAS consortium indicates a concrete risk that deep sea mining would lead to serious irreversible harm. The ISA and the German Government are paving the way for yet another assault upon our oceans – an unprecedented and unnecessary assault.”

“The demand for a ban highlights the need to debate whether we should open up our oceans seabed to mining when alternatives are available. Germany and the EU should promote sustainable sources of minerals. such as urban mining.

Christina Tony, from the Bismarck Ramu Group in PNG said, “In Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific we do not see experimental seabed mining as meeting any of our communities’ needs, nor does it provide a benefit for humankind as a whole. In PNG, and across the world, we already have plenty of land-based mines and they have plenty of problems.”

“Imposing this industry on us is another form of colonisation. By promoting experimental seabed mining, Germany and the EU are complicit in continuing the ‘empire’ tradition in which it believes it should be free to rape and pillage the Pacific for its own profit.”

 

For more info:

Papua New Guinea:
Pastor Matei Ibak, Alliance of Solwara Warriors (via Christina Tony)
Christina Tony, chrisamoka20@gmail.com +675 70942439, Bismarck Ramu Group

Australia:
Natalie Lowrey, natalie.lowrey@gmail.com +61 421226200, Deep Sea Mining Campaign

 


NOTES

[1] See submissions by the Deep Sea Mining Campaign: http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/Deep-Sea-Mining-Campaign-submission-to-the-ISA-Nov-2016.pdf  and Seas At Risk: https://www.isa.org.jm/files/documents/EN/Regs/DraftExpl/Comments/SAR.pdf

[2] Organised by the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources the ‘Towards an ISA Environmental Management Strategy’ workshop is being held in Berlin this week 19-14 March. The meeting aims to progress an ISA Environmental Management Strategy for deep sea mining.

[3] Lutherans Walk 9 days Across Highlands Region Campaigning Against Deep Sea Mining in Papua New Guinea, EMTV; VIDEO: Lutherans Campaign Against Deep Sea Mining in PNG, EMTV online and Caritas PNG Forum call for ban on Sea bed mining

[4] Reports include: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Reviving the Ocean Economy (2015) and The Living Planet (2016);  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) State of the Ocean (2013) and Explaining Ocean Warming (2016); and the United Nation’s World Ocean Assessment 2016 which is a global inventory of the state of the marine environment and problems threatening to degrade the oceans.

 

 

LOOP PNG

BY: Annette Kora
17:26, March 8, 2017

 

The Caritas Coordinators of 19 Catholic Dioceses of the Catholic Church of PNG held its Annual Caritas PNG Forum 2017 in Madang in February.

The group are part of the Catholic network for social and ecological justice, and integral human development in the rural communities

The potential impacts of the proposed first ever “Experimental Seabed Mining” in PNG waters was among the agendas.

It was brought to light that the negative impacts greatly outweigh the anticipated benefits.

“In solidarity with Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Bismarck Ramu Group, and other concerned organisations, we are compelled to speak out on behalf of the affected silent majority in the rural coastal and island communities.”

They said the PNG Government has not been adequately advised resulting in granting mining licenses for the unprecedented project adding that they are aware that PNG national Government has already commissioned independent reviews of the IES yet copies of the report are hard to obtain.

“There has also been a lot of consultation – ie: the Government and Nautilus Minerals Ltd going out to communities to tell them how the project will proceed but, fell short of obtaining the communities’ consent.”

“We foresee that the coastal and island people whose daily lives are wholesomely dependent on the marine resources will be seriously deprived if the project goes ahead. In the economic and social realm, the dignity and complete vocation of the human person and the welfare of society as a whole are to be respected and promoted.”

The undersigned plead the Government to BAN experimental seabed mining because:

  • Nautilus Minerals Ltd has not demonstrated that seafloor resource development is commercially viable and environmentally sustainable.
  • The already commissioned Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report is not available to the stakeholders concerned.
  • Nautilus Minerals Ltd has not provided evidences of successful projects.
  • The local communities have not consented to the project going ahead.
  • The many unknowns make it a high risk project.

BAN SEABED MINING!

Seas At Risk
15 December 2016

The German Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND), member of Seas At Risk, called for a ban on deep sea mining together with several other German NGOs (PowerShift, Fair Oceans, Brot für die Welt, MISEREOR, Stiftung Asienhaus, Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung).

The ban was called for in the context of the International Conference on deep sea mining hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy on December 13th , and in which BUND and Seas At Risk participated. Germany has already received exploration licenses for 85,000 km² of seabed in the Central Pacific and the Indian Ocean and during the conference the Ministry clearly expressed the intention to have a leadership role in the development of deep-sea mining.

The German NGOs fear that in the current race for marine resources, harms to the vulnerable deep sea habitats and ecosystems may be neglected. The knowledge of the deep sea ecology is far too scarce to estimate the risks of deep sea mining. The exploitation of unique habitats will lead to serious and irreparable loss. In addition to a ban of all mineral exploitation projects in the deep sea, the NGOs also called for alternative strategies to reduce raw material consumption, by enhancing recycling rates and developing smart and sustainable product design.

They also emphasised the importance to respect the human rights of the Pacific civil societies that are currently opposing seabed mining projects. Local communities see the Pacific as their ‘fluid continent’ and they oppose to their land and sea becoming an experimental field again as in the times of nuclear testing.

 

 

 MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Seabed mining in PNG: environmental experiment,

false hope of economic returns

Nautilus Minerals pedalled false hope for experimental seabed mining at the PNG Petroleum and Mining Conference in Sydney. NGOs and civil society in PNG raise serious doubt about the commercial and environmental viability of the Solwara 1 seabed mining project.

Natalie Lowrey, Deep Sea Mining campaign said, “Despite securing bridge financing with its two biggest shareholders to continue the Solwara 1 project, Nautilus faces significant technological and financial uncertainties. They are yet to demonstrate that seafloor resource development is commercially viable and environmentally sustainable.”

“The Nautilus Annual Information Form for the Fiscal Year ending 2015 highlights the potential for equipment damage, mechanical failure and operational failure and it warns that the projected yields and costs for Solwara 1 should be viewed with a low level of confidence.”

According to the Form’s section on risk factors, Nautilus has not completed and does not intend to complete a preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study before embarking on mining at the Solwara 1 Site. The Form also acknowledges that the impact of any seabed mining operation on the environment will only be determined by monitoring after Solwara 1 has been developed.

“This does nothing to reassure local communities. The proposed Solwara 1 site is right in the middle of our fishing grounds and ocean currents operating at the Solwara 1 site would bring pollutants to our shores,” stated Jonathan Mesulum, from the PNG Alliance of Solwara Warriors.

Christina Tony, from the Bismarck Ramu Group in PNG said, “These admissions formally confirm what community members and activists have asserted for some time, that Nautilus and the PNG Government are using the Bismarck Sea as their testing ground and that Solwara 1 is indeed Experimental Sea Bed Mining”

“The business case for Solwara 1 is extremely weak and is a huge risk for the PNG government. It will not generate revenue, employment or business opportunities for the local communities whose lives and livelihoods depend on the ocean. Our former prime minister and Governor of New Ireland province, Sir Julius Chan, cast his doubts about experimental seabed mining as a serious environmental risk for our seas which are the gardens for our people.”

The Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), who control the world’s largest sustainable tuna purse seine fishery, have warned this week that without caution and adherence to the precautionary principle sea bed mining will go down the same track as the tuna fishery- foreign companies over exploiting Pacific Island resources with no tangible benefits delivered to local populations. The National Fisheries Authority in PNG has also expressed its concerns over seabed mining in the country.

FOR MORE INFO:

Papua New Guinea: Christina Tony, chrisamoka20[at]gmail.com +675 70942439

Papua New Guinea: Jonathan Mesulam, mesulamjonathan[at]gmail.com +675 70038933

Australia: Natalie Lowrey, natalie.lowrey[at]gmail.com +61 421 226 200

Radio New Zealand, 24 November 2016

Papua New Guinea’s public has the right to be informed about impacts of seabed mining, according to the NGO Bismarck Ramu Group.

The Canadian company Nautilus Minerals said it was looking to begin mining in PNG’s Bismarck Sea by 2018 as part of its Solwara 1 project.

The seabed mining project, set to be the world’s first, has been in the planning for about nine years and secured the backing of the government which bought a 15 percent stake.

However there remains strong opposition to the project among local communities and environmentalists, while caution has been urged by the World Bank among others.

Bismarck Ramu Group’s Christina Tony said it is concerning that government gave approval for the project after only one environmental impact study.

She said that study was done by Nautilus.

“And that environmental impact study has never came out to the public. And we’ve had an independent company in Australia actually reviewed that environmental impact statement and they had concerns over that statement, which they gave the information to the national government,” Ms Tony said.

“That information hasn’t been extended to the public yet.”

Bismarck Ramu Group and other civil society groups concerned about Solwara 1 have taken heart from this month’s New Zealand Environment Court ruling that a seabed mining company must disclose information about its plans.

Trans Tasman Resources applied to New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority to mine off the North Island’s west coast.

The EPA had withheld some of the application from public access on the grounds it was commercially sensitive.

However, the court ruled in favour of local civil society and fisheries groups that blacked-out parts of the application be made public.

A representative of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors, Jonathan Mesulam, said they had been fighting for the same public right to information in PNG for many years.

Last year, PNG’s Mining Minister Byron Chan said communities in the Bismarck Sea area had been continuously consulted about the project.

However, according to Mr Mesulam, “Nautilus does not have the consent of local communities. We still don’t know what the impacts of this experimental mining will be.

“Furthermore, the Solwara 1 site is right in the middle of our traditional fishing grounds. We are united in our fight against any destruction of our seas, culture and livelihoods.”

Saying PNG’s government stood to earn at least $US124million from the mining project, Mr Chan previously described the expected environmental impacts of the project as relatively small.

 

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MEDIA RELEASE

Tuesday 29th November 2016

The Sinking Titanic: International Seabed Authority and Mining the Common Heritage of Humankind

NGOs and civil society from Papua New Guinea and around the world challenge the development of regulations[1] for deep sea mining by the International Seabed Authority (ISA). Their call for a ban on this frontier industry highlights the need for debate on progressing deep sea mining when alternatives are available.

Natalie Lowrey, Deep Sea Mining campaign stated, “The development of regulations for deep sea mining is akin to loading more passengers onto a sinking Titanic. Report after report[2] demonstrate that the world’s oceans are already on the brink of peril. Recent research from the MIDAS consortium indicates a concrete risk that deep sea mining would lead to serious irreversible harm. The ISA is paving the way for yet another assault upon our oceans – an unprecedented and unnecessary assault.”

The Deep Sea Mining campaign made a joint submission to the ISA on the draft framework for the regulation of deep sea mining in May 2015. The submission highlighted that decisions on deep sea mining should be underpinned by implementation of the Precautionary Principle[3], achieving Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)[4], and gaining broad civil society support.

“Our current submission reflects our disappointment that these critical elements have been ignored in the draft regulations now produced by the ISA. Without them there should be a complete ban on deep sea mining”, continued Ms Lowrey.

The call for a ban on deep sea mining reflects the views of communities in Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific. Opposition to deep sea mining throughout the Pacific is strong and growing[5].

Christina Tony, from the Bismarck Ramu Group in PNG said, “The oceans are part of our Common Heritage. The ISA’s prime mandate is to protect the deep sea (Article 145, UNCLOS). Where is the discussion on needs-based mining vs profit-based mining?”

“In Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific we do not see experimental seabed mining as a need for our communities nor a benefit for humankind as a whole. In PNG, and across the world, we already have plenty of land based mines and they have plenty of problems.”

“Enough is enough!” stated Jonathan Mesulam from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors. “People from the Pacific are custodians of the world’s largest oceans and it is these oceans that connect everyone in the Pacific. The oceans are as important as land as sources of food and livelihoods, they are of strong cultural and spiritual importance. Experimental seabed mining threatens this.”

“There are alternatives to extracting minerals resources from our oceans, these include the improvement of product design and the reuse and recycling of materials through processes as urban mining”, said Ms Lowrey.

“There is yet to be a rigorous and thorough examination of the potential impacts of deep sea mining on the environment and human health. Deep sea mining should therefore not proceed.”

Download the Deep Sea Mining campaign submission to the ISA

 

For more info:

Papua New Guinea:
Jonathan Mesulam, mesulamjonathan@gmail.com +675 70038933, Alliance of Solwara Warriors
Christina Tony, chrisamoka20@gmail.com +675 70942439, Bismarck Ramu Group

Australia:
Natalie Lowrey, natalie.lowrey@gmail.com +61 421226200, Deep Sea Mining Campaign

______

NOTES

[1] Comment by ISA members and stakeholders closed to the initial working draft regulations and standard contract terms on exploitation for mineral resources on Friday 25 November 2016. The purpose of the comments is so the Commission can get the “views and opinions on the content and structure (as opposed to any fine-tuning of the drafting language) of the working draft from the Authority’s stakeholder base. These views will be presented to the newly elected Commission in February 2017 together with a revised working draft. It is intended that the next Commission will formulate a clear methodology with regards to the elaboration of the Mining Code, timelines and stakeholder contribution in the regulatory content and drafting process in connection with regulatory development.” https://www.isa.org.jm/news/deadline-comments-working-draft-exploitation-regulations-extended

[2] Reports include: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Reviving the Ocean Economy (2015) and The Living Planet (2016);  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) State of the Ocean (2013) and Explaining Ocean Warming (2016); and the United Nation’s World Ocean Assessment 2016 which is a global inventory of the state of the marine environment and problems threatening to degrade the oceans.

[3] The United Nations World Charter For nature (1982) states that the precautionary principle requires that “activities which are likely to pose a significant risk to nature shall be preceded by an exhaustive examination; their proponents shall demonstrate that expected benefits outweigh potential damage to nature; and where potential adverse effects are not fully understood, the activities should not proceed.”

[4] Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) currently exists in many international law instruments. It is most clearly articulate in UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP, 2007). The Deep Sea Mining campaign calls for FPIC to recognised and extended to the Common Heritage and Benefit of Mankind including our international oceans.

[5] Lutherans Walk 9 days Across Highlands Region Campaigning Against Deep Sea Mining in Papua New Guinea, EMTV and VIDEO: Lutherans Campaign Against Deep Sea Mining in PNG, EMTV online.

 

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