In Papua New Guinea, the world’s first commercial deep-sea mining project – “Solwara 1” – is about to start: an initial project and door opener for global deep-sea exploitation. Furthermore, the planned mine off the New Ireland’s coast is a symbol of the imperial, destructive and unjust economy of the industrialized countries. In autumn 2018, two of the many protesters in Papua New Guinea visited us for a Speakers Tour through Europe.
When they start mining the seabed, they’ll start mining part of me.
These are the words of a clan chief of the Duke of York Islands – a small archipelago in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea which lies 30km from the world’s first commercial deep sea mine site, known as “Solwara 1”. The project, which has been delayed due to funding difficulties, is operated by Canadian company Nautilus Minerals and is poised to extract copper from the seabed, 1600m below the surface.
Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABL) are being used by foreign companies to unlawfully occupy community-owned land in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
This is despite the leases being declared unlawful and universally discredited. This is happening with the connivance and support of PNG’s politicians and public servants. The foreign companies have been able to abus the law to illegally lease land and grab forest resources from customary landowners — without their legally required consent, and often without any prior warning. As a result of this state-sanctioned land grab, hundreds of thousands of people, most living in remote rural communities, have seen their traditional subsistence lifestyles and environment destroyed and are suffering a wide-range of serious and on-going human rights abuses.
The PNG Council of Churches has called for a total ban on seabed mining in the country. The Council of Churches representatives from the United, Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Evangelical Alliance Church of Manus, Baptist and Body of Christ made their stance known after considering the seriousness of the activity on the seabed.
As African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Countries prepare to re-negotiate their relationship with the European Union (EU), we civil society organisations and people from the Pacific are calling for any future relationship to support our nations to determine and define our own development.
Stop the Exploitation of the Deep Sea! Position Paper Of German Civil Society Organizations On Deep Sea Mining
The German government supports a number of industry and research initiatives, both politically
and financially that massively promote deep sea mining. In the face of these trends,
environmental, development and human rights organisations associated in the German NGO
Working Group on Deep Sea Mining are calling for a rethinking and consequently a change
in policy-making. The total raw materials consumption in Germany and Europe must be drastically
reduced. The deep sea has to be protected as humanity’s common heritage. Deep
sea mining is incompatible with the preservation and conservation of this heritage, but is
on the contrary linked to severe disturbances of marine ecosystems, biodiversity loss and
incalculable consequences for the marine world and the people living in coastal areas.
Deep Sea Mining is the opposite of a sustainable raw materials policy!
Harvard Environmental Law Review details deep sea mining’s threats to climate, biodiversity, and indigenous peoples; calls for precautionary new legal standards
The Harvard Environmental Law Review published an article entitled, “Broadening Common Heritage: Addressing Gaps in the Deep Sea Mining Regulatory Regime.” The article provides a new perspective on the incipient global industry of seabed mining, heralded as the next extractive frontier despite growing concerns and opposition from civil society, scientific experts, and indigenous groups worldwide.
The article provides a brief overview of the so-called ‘gold-rush’ for seabed minerals, in which countries and companies have scrambled to buy up licenses for seabed exploration covering millions of square kilometers of ocean, before environmental and regulatory standards have even been drafted.
“Pacific Islanders have already suffered negative consequences as a result of mere exploratory mining in the region,” says author Julian Aguon, attorney and founder of Blue Ocean Law—a law firm that works throughout the Pacific region to defend and advance the rights of colonized and indigenous peoples. “Our work has documented impacts to fisheries and traditional customs in coastal communities in Papua New Guinea, Tonga and elsewhere, and the disconcerting absence of true and meaningful consultation with affected groups.
The Last Frontier, a documentary series focusing on experimental seabed mining, an imminent venture in the Pacific.
This documentary presents the situation in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Despite the experimental nature and a dearth of knowledge about hydrothermal vents and deep sea ecosystems, Nautilus Minerals Inc. is already prospecting PNG’s Bismarck Sea with an aim to begin mining as early as 2019.
This film highlights a general failure by authorities to incorporate sufficient environmental protections, as well as the norm of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) for indigenous peoples of the Bismarck Sea.
These are the voices of the guardians protecting the Last Frontier.
A video documentary by the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG)