PAPUA NEW GUINEA’s mining minister, Byron Chan, says the world first deep sea mining project off New ireland must proceed because the government has already granted the company involved a licence to do the work.
Mr Chan’s comment was made in response to increasingly vocal opposition to Nautilus Minerals’ plan to develop its copper-gold project in the Bismarck Sea, starting next year.
Civil society organisations in the Pacific region have launched a petition calling on their governments to slow the development of seabed mining and a new report on the Nautilus venture says not enough is known about its impacts for it to go ahead.
Mr Chan said despite his personal opposition to the project, the government is committed.
“I really can’t do much at this time because there is no default on any sides for revocation of the licence,””he said. “So ongoing discussions must take place between the people, government and the company.”
However Mr Chan said he believes the project cannot proceed until all parties are in agreement.
Source: Radio New Zealand International, 4 December