PNG Justice Minister Niningi raises concerns on Seabed Mining

 Papua New Guinea JUSTICE Minister and Attorney-General Pila Niningi says the Government should check whether the Solwara 1 deep seabed mining project had breached any laws.

Niningi joined Rabaul MP Dr Allan Marat and Northern Governor Gary Juffa in raising concern over seabed mining after it was confirmed that the abandoned Solwara One project would be resumed – but under a new developer.

Niningi said the former project developer Nautilus Minerals had submitted an environment plan which was approved on Dec 29, 2009, It was also given a mining lease (ML 154) on Oct 1, 2011.

He added that the ML 154 was for 20 years, but came with conditions that the developer must comply with.

The new owners, Canadian company Deep Sea Mining Finance, had acquired all the assets, including the licences belonging to Nautilus Minerals.

“ML 154 and Exploration Licence 434 are still valid,” Niningi said.

“We need to look into whether the new developers have breached any laws. Review the Mining Act and Environment Act if there are any breaches that warrant the termination of the licences.”

Niningi said the new developers were moving forward with the project. But if any law had been breached, the project would be stopped.

The company Deep Sea Mining Finance has also made changes to the methods of mining which would be considered by the Mining Advisory Council.

“This is a serious project. It should have been trialled in Canada before they brought it to PNG. Why have we become guinea pigs?” he asked.

“It’s an issue that the State must take seriously.

“We will be in serious trouble if we don’t have this checked.”

The National / Pacific Mining Watch

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