13 May 2014
Source: Canadian Geographic
Author: Ariana Kaknivicius
A Canadian mining company has been approved to start extracting ores of copper, gold and other valuable metals on the Pacific sea floor. The company, Nautilus Minerals, reached an agreement with Papua New Guinea to start mining within the next five years. Nautilus was granted a 20-year licence to excavate at Solwara 1, a site 30 kilometres off Papua New Guinea’s coast in the Bismarck Sea.
If this controversial project takes shape, it will become the world’s first deep sea mine.
“Canada is known for being the worldwide leader in exploration,” says Mike Johnston, chief executive officer of Nautilus Minerals. “Our project combines a lot of new technologies, and Canada will be recognized for that innovation.”
According to Nautilus, the lack of tailings, or mining waste, means minimal environmental consequences. “Expected environmental impacts are documented in our EIS (Environmental Impact Statement),” says Johnston. “Essentially none of those projections were seriously challenged.”
But not all are convinced.
The Deep Sea Mining Campaign, a small activist group in Australia, is also working to fill these knowledge gaps. As a community development consultant in Papua New Guinea, the Campaign’s coordinator Helen Rosenbaum was aware of the concern and confusion over this mine from the local communities.
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