Undersea mining impact tackled

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 14th June 2013

 PAPUA New Guinea is one of the key players in a regional training workshop on stakeholder participation and social impacts of deep sea mining activities.

This workshop began last Monday in Port Vila, Vanuatu and will end today.

The workshop is supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)-EU Pacific deep-sea minerals project, as part of its efforts to assist Pacific Island countries to improve the governance and management of their deep-sea mineral resources. 

The Pacific deep sea minerals project is funded by the European Union and managed by South Pacific Geoscience Organisation (SOPAC), the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, on behalf of 15 Pacific Island countries — the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

PNG’s participation is crucial to the development of offshore mining policy and provision of assistance in formulating participating countries’ respective offshore mining laws and policies. 

Most Pacific island states do not have deep sea mining policies.

PNG is represented by the Department of Mineral Policy and Geo- harzards Management (DMPGM) and the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA).

The project is the first major initiative designed to regulate this new activity in a coordinated way within the Pacific region.  

Pacific deep sea minerals project manager Akuila Tawake says one of the main objectives of the workshop on ‘Social Impacts of Deep Sea Mineral Activities and Stakeholder Participation’ is to learn lessons from the social impacts of other extractive industries and how to minimise any potential social impacts of deep-sea mining activities.

Tawake said: “The workshop is designed to provide government officials with skills to engage with all relevant stakeholders about the potential environmental, social and economic impacts of any future deep sea mining activities.”