This was the view shared by seabed mining advocates, together with locals of West Coast Namatanai and representatives of Duke of York Islands, East New Britain Province, during an open forum in Namatanai.
After the gathering, a joint statement was issued, saying: “As New Irelanders we have two world class mining in Lihir and Simberi gold mine. We have logging operations and oil palm industry operating in the Province. We have run down plantations that can be used for cocoa or copra project that support local people.
“We believe we have enough resources available that can sustain and support our daily survival.
“We simply do not want deep sea mining in our waters.
“The government has made a bad investment option that our country and ordinary citizens are paying the price. The funds invested in Solwara could have been used for medical supplies, education materials or road maintenance along the West Coast area to support local farmers. What a waste of funds! We should learn from our mistake and not repeat such a bad decision.
“There is growing opposition against Solwara 1 project and the Government should not risk funds that may be used for the benefit of ordinary PNG citizens. The Government must be warned this fight against Solwara 1 project is not over.
“As coastal communities, we have always been connected with our seas. Our identity, our livelihoods, our cultural practices cannot be separated from the oceans.
“The risks and uncertainties of experimental seabed mining are too great to allow this industry to ever proceed in Papua New Guinea.”
The group then called on the Government to:
- To terminate the Solwara 1 operating licence, and all of Nautilus’ exploration licences in the Bismarck and Solomon Seas;
- To demonstrate that it has learnt from the very costly mistake of purchasing a 15 percent stake in Nautilus Minerals and commit to:
- Never taking up a stake in any deep sea mining venture in the future;
- Not issuing any more licences for deep sea mining exploration or mining; and
- Providing real and lasting support to maritime economies by assisting thriving artisanal fisheries, growing the fledgling ocean based eco-tourism sector, and funding communications and transport infrastructure, education and health services for communities right across Papua New Guinea