Papua New Guinea Mine Watch
Photo: Children protest against experimental seabed mining plans in Papua New Guinea
Canadian company Nautilus Minerals, has terminated its Solwara 1 financing agreement with the government of Papua New Guinea, but the company still has its foot in PNG waters. Nautilus still holds a license to mine in the lease area at the Solwara 1 project site, thus the termination is not complete – or not yet anyway.
Strangely for Nautilus, the PNG government has been and continues to be silent over the entire ordeal. The Provincial Government of New Ireland has been the only authority making commitments to get the project into operation. However, such efforts may became futile now the national government has refused any assurance that it will pay a 30% share of the projects costs.
So far Nautilus has gone to the media stating its commitment to the environment in glossy ‘Nautilus Cares’ advertisements, but the technicalities of how it really cares about the environment and marine life remain contentious. Dredging the sea floor with minimal damage does not make much sense to the local people.
What Nautilus will do from here will be interesting. Although terminating the agreement with PNG government, Nautilus still has its foot in PNG waters thanks to the license permit. Hence, the deal may be over, but it is not yet out as opposers think it should be.