Solwara 1 is a unique project of worldwide significance but key aspects of its approvals process remain “behind closed doors”. In the interests of transparency and informed debate, the Deep Sea Mining Campaign have called upon the DEC (via the Acting Secretary) to release at a minimum the full data set behind the EIS, the earlier Cardno review of oceanographic components of the EIS (conducted for DEC in 2009) and the conditions of the permits issued for Solwara 1 by DEC.
Below is the letter that was sent on 7 November 2013 (which has now been posted, e-mailed to 2 different addresses and faxed) from Dr. Helen Rosenbaum on behalf of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign.
Unfortunately we are yet to receive a reply from Mr. Joku. Please feel free to print the letter to the Mr. Joku as an open letter in your newspaper or to excerpt any part of it.
Mr. Gunter Joku
Department of Environment and Conservation
Papua New Guinea
FAX: 675 325 0180; 325 3551
7 November 2012
Dear Mr. Joku,
I would like to introduce myself and the campaign that I coordinate – the Deep Sea mining Campaign affiliated with Friends of the Earth Australia. We are a small team of two people who collaborate with colleagues in PNG, the Pacific Islands region and further abroad (as far as Namibia, Hawaii and the Azores for example). Our goals are to stimulate informed debate about deep sea mining, ensure free, prior and informed consent by local communities, and to facilitate civil society engagement in decision-making about DSM.
As PNG is the testing ground for this unprecedented form of mining we have focused significant energy on examining the Solwara 1 project. You may be aware that last year we released a report (downloadable from our web site – see above) providing an overview of DSM in general and the Solwara 1 project in particular. Entitled, Out of our depth: Mining the Ocean Floor in PNG, this report raises many concerns about gaps in the EIS and the many risks that have not been properly assessed. Subsequent conversations with Nautilus’s Samantha Smith resulted in reassurances that research has since been conducted that would address these concerns. However no such information has been provided.
Consequently we have embarked on a further examination of the EIS’s oceanographic aspects. We chose to look at these due to their critical importance to level of risk that coastal communities and marine ecosystems will be exposed to. The report has just been released and can be downloaded from our web site. The link to the report is http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/report/.
Solwara 1 is a unique project of worldwide significance. Key aspects of its approvals process are not in the public domain. This has resulted in many questions about the project’s likely impacts and the basis upon which the 20 year operating license was issued by the Government of PNG.
In the interests of transparency and informed debate, would it now be possible for the PNG DEC to release the full data set behind the EIS, the earlier Cardno review of oceanographic components of the EIS (conducted for DEC in 2009) and the conditions of the permits issued by DEC for Solwara 1?
We look forward to a productive discussion with DEC. We are also aware of the public forum that DEC plans to hold to discuss the Solwara 1 project. This would provide a perfect opportunity to share this important information with the people of PNG.
Due to the challenges of telecommunications with PNG, we would greatly appreciate e-mail confirmation of the receipt of this fax.
Helen Rosenbaum (PhD)
Coordinator, Deep Sea Mining Campaign
Affiliated with Friends of the Earth Australia
Ph: 61 3 5356 2254 ; Mob: 61 413 201 793