[pix_box icon=”quotes” bg=”#be0d0d” color=”#ffffff” border_size=”2″ border_style=”none” border_color=”#ffffff”]“We are deeply concerned and call for an immediate moratorium. The people of the Pacific have a right to determine for themselves what they want done on the ocean floor and they must be allowed to speak” – PCC General Secretary Reverend Francois Pihaatae[/pix_box]
29 May 2013
SUVA, Fiji — The Pacific Conference of Churches has renewed its call for a stop to all sea bed mining research in line with a resolution by regional church leaders in Honiara last month.
PCC General Secretary Reverend Francois Pihaatae made the call after regional governments began to design laws which will allow them to engage in mining activities on and beneath the sea bed.
“The PCC member churches were unequivocal that no further action should be taken by regional governments until there is empirical evidence on the effect that deep sea mining and exploration will have,” Rev Pihaatae said.
“These churches represent 6.25 million Pacific people who have serious concerns about the environmental and socio-economic impact of deep sea mining.
“We urge governments to engage – not merely consult – with their people and ensure that proper studies are made before any work is done.”
In April the representatives of 15 Pacific governments met in Nuku’alofa, Tonga to discuss development and resource management issues linked to seabed mining.
Recent indications show that at least two multinationals – one Korean and a Unite States-based firm – want to conduct exploration in Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The Tonga meeting was facilitated by the joint Secretariat of the Pacific Community-European Union Deep Sea Minerals Project.
Representatives of the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu attended the meeting.
One objective of the Tonga workshop was to provide government officials with the knowledge, skills and confidence to negotiate effectively with well-resourced deep sea mining companies.
Under SPC-EU project regional countries are urged to put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals.
But Rev Pihaatae said the move appeared to be an attempt to validate exploration and mining before it started.
“We are deeply concerned and call for an immediate moratorium. The people of the Pacific have a right to determine for themselves what they want done on the ocean floor and they must be allowed to speak,” he said.