During his visit on Monday to the Community Affairs and National Content Conference and Expo in Lae, Prime Minister James Marape told the media that the Melanesian Spearhead Group has resolved to refuse deep-sea mining unless technology and research suggest otherwise.
“Until technology and studies show that it can be done in an environmentally sensitive manner,” he told media. “You know, Papua New Guinea’s waters have the most fertile ground for tuna in the Pacific so we are also mindful about this.”
“Papua New Guinea, as a responsible big brother in the region, we had to subscribe to majority views in the Pacific and we place a moratorium on deep-sea mining in the country.”
Prime Minister Marape was in Vanuatu from August 22nd to 23rd for the 22nd MSG meeting in Port Vila. High on the agenda was climate change and nuclear waste concerns.
The PM further said the PNG government invested K300 million in the proposed deep-sea mine project when it granted Nautilus Minerals Ltd its first mining licence in 2011.
“We also have an interest in finding out what’s happening with that,” he revealed.
“At the moment, my office has not been briefed. We’ll catch up in that space but in the meantime, the Pacific Island leaders have said there’s a moratorium on deep-sea mining but the caveat is that, if it is environmentally ok, based on scientific evidence, then on a case-by-case it will be processed.”
Apart from deep-sea mining, the MSG has also opposed the discharge of Japan’s nuclear-treated waste water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.