News Release

Nautilus to Go Under Before Reaching the Ocean Floor

Source: 
Alliance of Solwara Warriors – Caritas PNG – Deep Sea Mining Campaign – MiningWatch Canada

Risk hindering finance, shares could well become stranded assets

(Vancouver) Nautilus braces itself for yet another AGM of excuses and bad news for investors. The wannabe deep sea miner is still struggling to convince financiers that its Solwara 1 deep sea mine is more than a sci fi pipe dream.[1]

The company is unable to complete the build of it support vessel and equipment. According to its Annual Information Forms, the financial and environmental risks are significant and the operation is entirely speculative.[2]

"Even Nautilus doesn't want to waste money on the economic assessments, feasibility studies, cost studies and the assessments of ore grades considered normal in the mining industry. Mainstream financiers are not interested in experiments nor are individual investors. This can be seen by the failure of share releases to raise funds for the company. Responsible shareholders weigh up the likely exposure to social and environmental risks and the value erosion that goes with that. In regards to Nautilus, they have voted with their wallets,” says Dr. Helen Rosenbaum of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign.

Local communities are also not interested in Nautilus's experiment.  In the past two weeks, two large forums against the Nautilus Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in the Bismarck Sea have been held in New Ireland and East New Britain provinces of Papua New Guinea. Supported by the Catholic Bishops and Caritas Papua New Guinea , both forums called for the halt of Nautilus Solwara 1 project and a complete ban on seabed mining in PNG and The Pacific.

Patrick Kitaun, Caritas PNG Coordinator said, “The Bismarck Sea is not a Laboratory for the world to experiment with seabed mining. Our ocean is our life! We get all our basics from the ocean so we need to protect it. We will not allow experimental seabed mining in Papua New Guinea. It must be stopped and banned for good."

Jonathan Mesulam of the  Alliance of Solwara Warriors stated, “Nautilus, we are not guinea pigs for your mining experiment! We in the Pacific are custodians of the world’s largest ocean. These oceans are important to us as sources of food and livelihoods. They are vital for our culture and our very identity. In New Ireland Province, we are only 25 km away from the Solwara 1 site. It is right in the middle of our traditional fishing grounds. We will stand up for our rights!

Vicar General, Father Vincent Takin of the Diocese of Kavieng stated, “In order for any development to take place, the people must be the object of development and not subject to it. The people have not been fully informed about the impacts of Solwara 1 on the social, cultural, physical and spiritual aspects of their lives. Therefore they cannot give their consent.”[3]

Dr. Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada says, "Seabed mining is not only financially irresponsible but also unconscionable given its unnecessary destruction of irreplaceable marine ecosystems. Our need for metals can be met in more creative and intelligent ways, in particular by the urban mining of electronic and other wastes, and the reduction of demand for virgin minerals through better product design, repairing and recycling.[4]

“These options will provide win-win solutions for society, environment and the economy and gain a social licence that deep sea mining will never achieve. Shares in Nautilus's Solwara 1 will be stranded assets."

For more info:

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

AUSTRALIA

CANADA

NOTES

[1] If it proceeds, the Solwara 1 mine will be located in the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea, approximately 25 km from the coastline of New Ireland Province, about 35 km from Duke of York Islands and 60 km from Kokopo township in East New Britain.

[2] See sections on Risk factors in Annual Information Forms for financial years 2015 and 2016. For example:

"Our operations are speculative due to the high-risk nature of business related to the exploration and acquisition of rights to potential mineable deposits of metals. These risk factors could materially affect the Company’s future results and could cause actual events to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements relating to our Company." (FY 2016, p.52)

"... Performance, availability, reliability, maintenance, wear and life of equipment are unknown. There can be no guarantee that sub-sea engineering and recovery systems can be developed or if developed, will be employable in a commercially-viable manner." (FY 2015, p.54)

"... while Company studies have indicated a low likelihood of risk to the aquatic environment from mining activities, the actual impact of any SMS [seafloor massive sulphide] mining operations on the environment has yet to be determined.” (FY 2015, p.61)

"Nautilus has not completed and does not intend to complete a preliminary economic assessment, pre-feasibility study or feasibility study before completing the construction and first deployment of the Seafloor Production System at the Solwara 1 Project.”

"No independent Qualified Person has confirmed the amount of these costs or recommended that these costs be incurred. There is significant risk with this approach and no assurance can be given that the Seafloor Production System, if fully funded and completed for deployment at the Solwara 1 Project, will successfully demonstrate that seafloor resource development is commercially viable." (FY 2015, p.52)

[3] Statement by Vicar General, Father Vincent Takin, representing the Diocese of Kavieng and speaking on behalf of His Lordship, Bishop Ambrose Kiapseni MSC DD and all the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Kavieng. View the full statement here.

[4] For example, No Mining Required; No more mining says Apple; and Apple will stop relying on mining for minerals ‘one day’; California based Blue Oak Resources estimates that every year mining companies spend roughly $12 billion for virgin ore deposits. Tons of cell phones and other electronics are thrown out every year, and each ton contains 70 times the amount of gold and silver found in virgin ore. For copper the number is even higher, with the equivalent of roughly one-third of global mining production thrown out in e-waste globally every year; 'Urban mining': UBC engineers say e-waste richer than ore pulled from the ground; Can ‘urban mining’ solve the world’s e-waste problem? See also the Institute for Sustainable Futures (University of Technology Sydney) study Renewable Energy and Deep-Sea Mining: Supply, Demand and Scenarios.