15 Nov 2012

Amid dispute, Nautilus keen on progressing PNG seabed mining project

7:14 pm on 15 November 2012

The developer of the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project planned for Papua New Guinea's Bismarck Sea says it doesn't make sense to leave the project unfinished.

The Canadian company Nautilus Minerals has decided to halt construction of the project, which is over 50 percent complete, amid a dispute with the government over costs of up to 80 million US dollars.

However, the PNG government says Nautilus hasn't addressed its concerns about core issues relating to the project, including the environmental impact of what would be the world's first such deep sea gold and copper mining operation.

Nautilus' interim CEO Mike Johnston says the company has provided extensive scientific assessments of the projected impact.

"Once seafloor mining starts and people actually see the reality rather than the fiction that can get thrown around by some people. A lot of people are going to ask, well we should be doing more of this because it has such a small surgical footprint. It's not like the big mining projects that people are used to seeing."

Mike Johnston