Legal action launched over the Nautilus Solwara 1 Experimental Seabed Mine

Wednesday 6 December 2017

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Nautilus Solwara 1 Experimental Seabed Mineexperimental seabed mining

See original release from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign

PAPUA NEW GUINEA | Coastal Communities have today launched legal proceedings against the PNG Government in a bid to obtain key documents relating to the licensing and the environmental, health and economic impacts of the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project.

“Very little information about the Solwara 1 project has been disclosed by PNG Government or the project developer, Nautilus Minerals”, stated Peter Bosip, Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCoR).

“Communities likely to be impacted by the project have no choice but to bring legal proceedings against the PNG Government.”

“They are seeking information to enable them and all Papua New Guineans to clearly understand whether the project was approved lawfully and what the impacts will be on local communities. The Solwara 1 Environmental Impact Statement contains insufficient information to determine this. “

Lucielle Paru, of the Central Province Pressure Group says, “Section 51 of the PNG Constitution provides the right of reasonable access to official documents to every citizen of Papua New Guinea. It is a sad condemnation of our national Government that we have to force them to share information about this experimental seabed mining project.”

“We expect our Government to enact a duty of care towards us but it seems to prioritise Nautilus’s interests instead. The Government’s reluctance to provide the documents makes us wonder if they have something to hide.”

“The implications of this high-risk project for communities close to the proposed site are significant. We want to know what risk analysis the Government did before it granted Nautilus an Environmental Permit for Solwara 1“, added Ms. Paru.

“I am sure that communities living near other mines in Papua New Guinea will want to know this information too as it might shed some light on how the government generally assesses the impacts of mining projects on surrounding environments”

According to Jonathan Mesulam from the West Coast of New Ireland Province, “Civil society in Papua New Guinea has been requesting this information for the past four years [1]. My people live only 25km from the proposed location for the Solwara 1 mine in the Bismarck Sea. If the mine goes ahead it will impact our lives and livelihoods [2].”

“We have the right to know the whole truth about Solwara 1. The Government has ignored written requests for key documents so we now have to resort to legal action. Communities along the West Coast of New Ireland are fully in support of the legal action.”

For further information:

Peter Bosip, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCoR)
pbosip[at]gmail.com; +675 3234509

Jonathan Mesulam, West Coast Central People of New Ireland
mesulamjonathan[at]gmail.com; +675 70038933

Lucielle Paru, Central Province Pressure Group, NCD and Central Province
lucielle[at]mediterraneanpng.com; +675 70858690

Notes

[1] For example, as long ago as 2012 the Deep Sea Mining campaign and Mas Kagin Tapani sent a letter to PNG PM Peter O’Neill requesting the release of key documents relating to the Solwara 1 seabed mining project. No response was received and those documents are still not in the public domain, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/letter-to-png-pm

[2] Reports produced by the Deep Sea Mining campaign highlighting the economic, social and environmental concerns of Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 deep sea mining project:

‘Out of Our Depth: Mining the Ocean Floor in Papua New Guinea’, November 2011, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/Out-Of-Our-Depth-low-res.pdf

‘Physical Oceanographic Assessment of the Nautilus Environmental Impact Statement for the Solwara 1 Project – An Independent Review’, November 2012, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/EIS-Review-FINAL-low-res.pdf

‘Accountability Zero: A Critique of Nautilus Minerals Environmental and Social Benchmarking Analysis of the Solwara 1 project’, September 2015, http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wpcontent/
uploads/accountabilityZERO_web.pdf