As experimental deep sea mining is hyped in China and piloted in Japan, the Alliance of Solwara Warriors in Papua New Guinea reaffirm their resistance to Nautilus Minerals plans to mine the seabed in the Bismarck Sea.
Friday 29 September 2017
PAPUA NEW GUINEA | Canadian company Nautilus is busy showing off its seabed mining machinery to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain – landowners and community leaders are unimpressed.
Coastal communities across the Bismarck Sea under the umbrella of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors claim that Nautilus and the PNG Government do not have their consent to go ahead with experimental seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea.
“Who are these leaders from New Ireland province that Nautilus has hand selected?”, said Jonathan Mesulam of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors. “I am from the West Coast of New Ireland Province and I hear my people’s concerns. Landowners on the west coast of New Ireland Province live only 25km from the Solwara 1 seabed mining site.”
“In June this year, more than 300 hundred people attended forums held in Namatanai and Kokopo hosted by Caritas Kavieng and the Archbishop of Rabaul. Papua New Guineans are worried about the impacts of this Canadian company’s experiment”, claimed Mr. Mesulam. “There are too many unknowns and challenges in operating this equipment in our precious oceans. These are giant instruments of torture for our marine environment that is already stressed by pollution, over fishing and rising sea levels. Why is our Government burdening our island and coastal communities with extra problems?”
Lucielle Paru of the Central Province Pressure Group said “My community lives near the testing site at Motukea Island. We do not support the development of this equipment. The dockyard on Motukea Island is nothing like the conditions on the sea floor where the mining tools will be used. These trials will not provide any evidence that the equipment is safe to use. Did the Government do any due diligence checks before it used the money of Papua New Guineans to purchase a 15% share in such a high-risk project?”
“It is foreign to Melanesian culture to become so excited about giant machinery. Our traditions protect community and nature. This foreign company is pushing their values for their own financial gain at the expense of our people. Once they try out their destructive equipment in the Bismarck sea they plan to take it to mine all around the PNG coastline. No one living next to the sea will be safe.”
Dr. Helen Rosenbaum of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said, “Nautilus is showing off its equipment to a small select group of people from New Ireland and East New Britain to try and buy support for Solwara 1. They know local communities strongly oppose this project. Nautilus is also desperately trying to convince investors that they are making progress. The company is struggling financially because Solwara 1 is very risky economically as well as environmentally .
“This level of risk has scared off responsible investors who refuse to gamble with people’s lives and futures.”
For more info:
Jonathan Mesulam, West Coast Central People of New Ireland
Lucielle Paru, Central Province Pressure Group, NCD and Central Province
Dr Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining campaign
 See sections on Risk factors in Annual information forms for financial years 2015 and 2016. For example:
“Our operations are speculative due to the high-risk nature of business related to the exploration and acquisition of rights to potential mineable deposits of metals. These risk factors could materially affect the Company’s future results and could cause actual events to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements relating to our Company.” (FY 2016, p 52)
“… Performance, availability, reliability, maintenance, wear and life of equipment are unknown. There can be no guarantee that sub-sea engineering and recovery systems can be developed or if developed, will be employable in a commercially-viable manner.” (FY 2015, p54)
“… while Company studies have indicated a low likelihood of risk to the aquatic environment from mining activities, the actual impact of any SMS [seafloor massive sulphide] mining operations on the environment has yet to be determined.” (FY 2015, p61)
“Nautilus has not completed and does not intend to complete a preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study before completing the construction and first deployment of the Seafloor Production System at the Solwara 1 Project.”
“No independent Qualified Person has confirmed the amount of these costs or recommended that these costs be incurred. There is significant risk with this approach and no assurance can be given that the Seafloor Production System, if fully funded and completed for deployment at the Solwara 1 Project, will successfully demonstrate that seafloor resource development is commercially viable.”
(FY 15, p52)
 Reports produced by the Deep Sea Mining campaign highlighting the economic, social and environmental concerns of Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 deep sea mining project:
- ‘Accountability Zero: A Critique of Nautilus Minerals Environmental and Social Benchmarking Analysis of the Solwara 1 project’, September 2015, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/accountabilityZERO_web.pdf
- ‘Physical Oceanographic Assessment of the Nautilus Environmental Impact Statement for the Solwara 1 Project – An Independent Review’, November 2012, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/EIS-Review-FINAL-low-res.pdf
- ‘Out of our Depth: Mining the Ocean Floor in Papua New Guinea’, November 2011 http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/Out-Of-Our-Depth-low-res.pdf