1 Jun 2011

Concern at potential risks in sea floor mining in the Pacific

7:52 pm on 1 June 2011

Concern is growing in the Pacific region over the potential social and environmental effects of sea floor mining.

These concerns are being raised ahead of a regional meeting in Fiji next week to map out the future of deep-sea mining, which is yet to be explored.

The Papua New Guinean government has been granted the world's first commercial lease for deep-sea mining to Canadian-based Nautilus Minerals, which is set to extract gold and copper from the sea floor near PNG's north coast.

The coordinator of the Fiji-based Pacific Network on Globalisation, Maureen Penjueli says because new technology will be used to carry out the mining, she is worried about the impact it will have on the environment and living creatures.

"Environmental NGOs have raised concerns. You know these are fragile ecosystems that we are talking about. And therefore if they're not mapped, we won't know what the damages are going to be to some of these fragile ecosystems."

Maureen Penjueli says she hopes governments will consult the public before implementing any deep-sea mining plans .