ABC Asia Pacific News
2 December 2011
A Canadian mining company planning to undertake the world’s first deep sea mining project in PNG waters has rejected environmentalists’ criticism of its Environmental Impact Study (EIS).
The Canada-owned Nautilus Minerals project made the statement after a report, called ‘Out of Our Depths’ accused the undersea mining of producing unacceptable environmental and social impacts.
Nautilus Minerals expects to start mining gold and copper deposits under the Bismarck Sea, off the north coast of PNG in 2013.
But the company’s vice president, Joe Dowling told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that the PNG government already approved of its EIS before issuing its mining lease two years ago.
“The authors have failed to understand processes that are used in PNG and the detail in our project,” Me Dowling said.
“For example, they’ve said we’re beginning reproduction in 2012 and they’ve called for a delay. Well, we’re not even scheduled to being production until the last quarter of 2013, so they haven’t even got some fairly basic dates correct.”
Out of Our Depths author, Dr Helen Rosenbaum says she is concerned that PNG is the first country in the world to undergo deep sea mining, but its impacts on communities are largely unknown.
“To date, with this flawed Environmental Impact Study (EIS), there is not enough information to understand the risks involved with this Solwara 1 Project and the coastal communities,’ she said.