10 Oct 2012

PNG tourism minister queries Nautilus seabed mining project

4:20 pm on 10 October 2012

Papua New Guinea's Tourism Minister says he does not agree with seabed mining in the Bismarck Sea in the absence of an independent environment impact assessment.

The Canadian firm, Nautilus Minerals, is pioneering the technology to extract minerals from the ocean floor.

The minister, Boka Kondra, says the oil disaster and the environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrated the inability of rich resources companies to prevent the destruction of marine and wild life.

He says resource landowners in Papua New Guinea had up to now been treated as underdogs in all multi-national development projects and he is pushing for greater benefit sharing arrangements.

Nautilus Minerals was granted a 20-year licence by the PNG government two months ago to launch its project, known as Solwara 1.