Alliance of Solwara Warriors lodge objection

The lack of consultation with West Coast locals of New Ireland Province on the Nautilus seabed mining project has yet again prompted another submission of their objections to the Mineral Resources Authority.

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors yesterday submitted their demurral on Exploration License 1196 to the MRA.

Speaking to this newsroom, Namatanai representative, Jonathan Mesulam, said they have again and will continue to oppose Nautilus Mineral Inc’s seabed mining project in New Ireland.

Coastal communities under the umbrella of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors claim that Nautilus and the PNG Government did not consult, nor did they get their consent or approval, to go ahead with the experimental seabed mining.

“EL 1196 is situated on traditional fishing and ceremonial waters of West Coast Namatanai in New Ireland Province and Duke of York Islands in East New Britain Province,” Mesulam said.

“This project will bring disruption to our communities and the lives of our people depend on the sea.”

Supporting the West Coast community to oppose the project are churches, schools, the wards of Namatanai LLG, East New Britain (Duke of York), Madang (Karkar Island), Manus (Balopa LLG) and Milne Bay province, including the New Ireland Provincial Government.

The only challenge that lies ahead is a response from Namatanai MP, Walter Schnaubelt, and Kavieng MP, Ian Ling-Stuckey.

“Both have not come out to give their stance on whose side they are taking in the project and a further call from the people of the West Coast of New Ireland to come out and make their stance known,” said Mesulam.

“The lives of our people are at risk knowing that this project is going ahead regardless of the lack of consent and consultation.”

With the lodging of the Solwara Warriors’ objection application, MRA has given them the assurance that there will be a warden hearing for the communities in New Ireland on the 20th to the 21st of March.

Mesulam also stated that the figure given by Nautilus of the number of people in support of the project is untrue.

“This project is set to destroy and disrupt the daily survival of our local communities in New Ireland Province.”

The communities of New Ireland, including the islands of surrounding provinces in the Bismarck Sea, will continue to stand firm on their decision to go against the experimental project seabed mining project, states the Alliance.

Meanwhile, Nautilus Minerals recently stated during last year’s mining conference that Solwara 1 Deep Sea Mine will have zero impact on marine life and coastal communities in New Ireland Province.

Nautilus said the technology employed for the project did not require explosives or chemicals and are confident there will not be any environmental impact.

(West Coast New Irelanders)

Annette Kora