Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
12 September 2012
The supporters of experimental seabed mining say the seabed is deep, dark and cold and there is nothing down there.
The scientists strongly disagree, and in a recent quick assessment, international scientists collected more than 500 species of crabs and prawns alone from the waters of PNG – including four totally new genera. Around 15% of the species colected were totally new to science.
The findings of the scientific team are reported in the latest issue of Oceanography magazine
The research was coordinated by two French institutions – the Museum national D’Histoire Naturelle and the Instit de Recherche pour Development – and the University of PNG. Together they formed an international team of 11 scientist from six countries to explore the deep waters of eastern Papua New Guinea.
They concluded that not enough is currently known about the seafloor massive sulfides that Canadian company Nautilus minerals wants to exploit to say what the environmental impacts will be.
“Very little is known of the biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea animals from PNG… Preliminary data suggest that deep New Guinean fauna is highly diversified. As an example, a rapped assessment of decapod crustacean biodiversity revealed more than 500 species collected including four new genera and about 15% new species”.
“While we are just beginning to fathom the amplitude of biodiversity in deep New Guinean waters, mining exploration and exploitation of seafloor massive sulfides is flourishing in the region. The exploitation of metals from SMS deposits is an emerging industry, and adverse environmental effects are hard to predict, as hydrothermal vent and adjacent ecosystems are still poorly known.”