9 Aug 2012

PNG deep sea mining operation gets the green light

7:05 pm on 9 August 2012

The Papua New Guinea Government has approved the world's first commercial deep-sea mining project despite vehement objections based on real or perceived threats to marine life.

Canadian firm, Nautilus Minerals, has been granted a 20-year licence by the PNG Government to commence the Solwara 1 project, the world's first commercial deep sea mining operation.

The project is estimated to generate over a billion US dollars and provide work for thousands of Papua New Guineans.

Nautilus will mine an area 1.6 kilometres beneath the Bismarck Sea, 50 kilometres off the coast of New Britain.

The ore that will be extracted contains high-grade copper and gold.

A co-ordinator for the Deep Sea Mining campaign, Helen Rosenbaum, says PNG is the guinea pig for deep-sea mining, with mining companies waiting in the wings ready to pile in.

Ms Rosenbaum says there is no certainty of the risks in the operation and this should trigger a precautionary principle.