Jason Gima Wuri
29 August 2012
University of Papua New Guinea academic professor Chalapan Kaluwin has said that the Government has breached a number of international conventions when it issued a mining license to Nautilus Minerals for its Solwara 1 seabed mining project.
These conventions include the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea; 1986 Convention for the Protection of Natural Resources and the Environment of the South Pacific Region (Noumea Convention); UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol; UN Biodiversity Conventions and the Waigani Agreement.
Prof Chalapan said the issues and details raised in the draft were equally important “as we start the process and work with our friends to ensure we address these concerns for the country”.
“There is a draft document from the SOPAC team’s legal advisors that has been prepared in collaboration with Secretary of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and other regional organisations which provides guidelines for the application of the precautionary principle,” he said.
“If we applied this document on precautionary principles it holds some promise and value that PNG Government could have made not to proceed with deep sea mining projects, given the serious lack of appropriate policies and laws in mining sectors in the oceans, coupled with the Fisheries and Environment Acts (2000) in the country.”
Prof Kaluwin said most importantly, there appeared to be lack of full scientific understanding of the issues involved.
He said states pursuing such activities had a responsibility to ensure that they followed international laws to protect the marine environment.