PNG: Concerns raised about negative impacts of seabed mining; need for consultation with local landholders

A recent media report (linked below) cites Nautilus Minerals' proposed seabed mining activities in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea, and refers to the potential negative impacts of seabed mining, including harm to tuna stocks, and the need for proper consultation with local landholders. 

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Nautilus Minerals to respond to these concerns. Nautilus Minerals' response is linked below. 

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Company response
27 March 2018

Nautilus Minerals' response

Author: Nautilus Minerals

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Nautilus Minerals to respond to concerns raised in a media report about seabed mining.

The company responded:

"Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the recent media report about Nautilus' proposed seabed mining activities in Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea.

Key Points

1) Not been tested: We tested or technology in FAT in the UK and USA. We have completed further submerged trials in PNG, and plan further trials and tests prior to Project start up.

2) Waste: There will be no tailings or large engineered waste dumps (as occurs on land). The return water is filtered to 8 microns prior to being returned to the water depth from where it originally came from. This is all detailed in our EIS, which the Professor clearly has not bothered to read.

3) Currents: Nautilus completed 12 months of detailed current studies at Solwara 1. The measurements showed that the current at 1500m was actually relatively slow, generally moving at around 0.5 of a knot, and was diurnal (influenced by the moon). The full water column current data also showed there were no upwelling currents and no mixing of the water column at the proposed mine site. All of this work is detailed in the company’s EIS, which was submitted to the PNG Government in 2008, and is available on our web site. 

4) Tuna: The West Coast of New Ireland has very poor tuna abundances due to a lack of large river run-offs (as occur in the main Bismarck Sea with rivers feeding in from the mainland). Maps detailing this are in our EIS, which once again the Professor has not read.

5) Consultation: There has been extensive consultation with various stakeholders, over >10 years, including extensive village based consultation. Professor Kaluwin actually attended the companies EIS inception report workshop in POM in 2007, along with various international scientists, researchers, provincial government representatives, regulators, and other stakeholders..."


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27 March 2018

Professor Kaluwin: Deep Sea Mining Operations Will Pose a Threat to PNG Marine Life

Author: Stacey, Yalo, EMTV Online

8 March 2018

Papua New Guinea would possibly be the first country in the world to conduct Deep Sea Mining...

Academics such as the Executive Dean for the School of Natural & Physical Sciences, Professor Chalapan Kaluwin, who has been researching the marine environment of PNG says, these new equipment pose a threat to the country’s marine environment as no one knows yet the advantage and the disadvantages of these materials...

“Nautilus Technology has not been tested anywhere in the world and is sitting in Port Moresby. It will go 1500 metres deep into the ocean, and mind you, the world still does not know much about the ocean floor and thus poses a risk for the marine life,” Professor Kaluwin said...

“The areas where the experimental mining will take place houses the largest Tuna stock in PNG and once you have unknown machines digging your ocean and dumping waste, you will find your Tuna migrating elsewhere...He stressed that the government should consult with landowners before engaging in commercial activities on land that belong to the people...

Read the full post here