(Toronto) As Nautilus Minerals gets set to present to its shareholders, concerned citizens from Papua New Guinea, Canada, and Australia continue to question the viability and environmental risks of the company’s controversial plan to build the world’s first deep sea mine.
Nautilus is in a dispute with the Papua New Guinea Government over the financing of its Solwara 1 project, resulting in the suspension of the project in November last year. With its share price sinking from over $2 to well under C$0.50 the viability of Nautilus’ venture is being called into question.
The Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinea has stimulated widespread opposition from many sectors of PNG society – from scientists, students, university lecturers, church leaders, and members of local coastal communities.
Oigen Schulze, Director of Zero Inc., a community organisation in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, said, “Local communities have NOT sanctioned the Solwara 1 project. Experimental mining of our seabeds is not going to provide any direct services or benefits for local communities.”
“The evidence is clear – our people have already paid a high price, both socially and economically, with land-based mining – despite the best intentions of our governments. Mining revenues have not justified the costs of damage to livelihoods and environmental degradation. The uncertainties and the risks associated with deep sea mining are even greater.”
The Deep Sea Mining (DSM) campaign has released two reports highlighting flaws in Nautilus’s EIS of its Solwara 1 project.
Dr. Catherine Coumans, MiningWatch Canada, said, “The EIS should have provided the basis for identifying risks and the development of strategies to manage them. Nautilus’s Solwara 1 EIS fails to do this. The many errors and omissions in the modelling and analysis of data means that the EIS underestimates the risks to local communities associated with Solwara 1. The liabilities to shareholders may be significant.
Natalie Lowrey, Communications Coordinator, Deep Sea Mining campaign, said, “It is clear that with the high level of concern generated by Solwara 1 in PNG, the project should not go ahead until Nautilus has gained the consent of PNG communities – and until the company can show it has addressed the serious gaps and mistakes in the EIS.”
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