No legislative framework for offshore mining: Churches

The world is watching PNG and it will be a joke to the world if PNG says yes to the destructive offshore/seabed mining in the absence of a relevant national policy and legislative framework.

The PNG Council of Churches say: “Following the Madang Guidelines concluded in 1999, we call on the Government to ensure a separate policy and legislation is developed before offshore mining, including deep seabed mining activities, are commenced in the country.

“Government should also clarify to the Churches and people of PNG as to what consultation processes have been undertaken to develop relevant policy and legislation governing offshore mining.

“The government’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) reports have highlighted that PNG is not getting its fair share of resource revenue and as such, we express concern that the state’s equity participation in the Solwara 1 project will be a waste of ordinary taxpayers’ money,” the Council said in a statement.

“Further, we call on Government to be more focused on people development rather than profit development when making crucial decisions. We call on the government to consult people, ensuring citizens and the public are aware of the benefits and the negative impacts of these development and allow them to make informed decisions on what the people think is best for them.

“The churches, as the prophetic voice to provide stewardship to God’s Creation, therefore appeal to the leaders of the nation not to destroy but to have and make good use of God’s gifts of land and sea to us.

“It is our sincere prayers that God will guide our national leaders in making development decisions for the future directions of our country.”

The Papua New Guinea Council of Churches gathered together the heads of churches throughout the maritime provinces and met for two days for a workshop on deep seabed mining.

From August 28 and 29th, the workshop was hosted at March Girls Resort, Gaire, in Central Province, where deliberations and presentations were considered.

Church representatives present:

- United Church

- Catholic Church

- Anglican Church

- Lutheran

- Salvation Army

- Seventh Day Adventist Church

- Evangelical Alliance Church of Manus

- Baptist Church

- Body of Christ

Press release