The National, Friday 24th August 2012
THE opposition is calling on the government to immediately stop seabed mining in the country, saying it is not necessary.
Papua New Guinea is not on economic life support, opposition leader Belden Namah said in a press conference yesterday at parliament.
Namah said there was no need to push for seabed mining after the 2012 national election.
Canada-based Nautilus Minerals has obtained an approval from the government to begin work on Solwara 1, the world’s first deep sea commercial mining venture.
Nautilus will mine for copper and gold off the coast of New Britain in the Bismarck Sea, which is known for its hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.
“We believe it is morally and ethically wrong as well as economically unnecessary and we are calling on the government not to rush into this project,” Namah said.
The Vanimo-Green MP said the country had more than enough to mine on land, “yet this government is unduly determined to exhaust all mineral extraction avenues in one’s lifetime”.
“This is a government blinded by economic wealth, with no regard for future catastrophic social and economic consequences.
“If the government fails to address this issue positively, the opposition is ready to fight,” he said.
He said the country had just signed a multi-billion kina liquefied natural gas project that would no doubt propel and sustain the economy for the next 40 to 50 years.
“The decision to approve seabed mining in PNG is a demonstration of a careless and reckless government decision,” Namah said.
, without constructive and meaningful debate by the full cabinet or through proper debate on the floor of parliament,” Namah said.
He said seabed mining was discouraged in most developed countries out of fear that it may affect the marine ecosystem and a developing nation such as PNG should not allow such a project.
“PNG should not become a guinea pig or a testing ground for such projects,”
Namah questioned why the investor was not practicing seabed mining in their own waters but preying on developing countries where corruption is deeply entrenched.
“The opposition is ready to fight such ill-practices of the government for the good of this sovereign nation,” he said.