The United States Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck close to the proposed Solwara 1 deep sea mine near in Papua New Guinea yesterday at 7 a.m. local time. This follows a magnitude 6.6 quake nearby in March.
Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign, said: “Thankfully there have been no reports of damage or injury. However, this is the second large earthquake this year right near the Solwara 1 deep sea mine proposed by Canadian company Nautilus.1 It's also in the vicinity of several other exploration tenements in the Bismarck Sea between East New Britain and New Ireland Provinces that Nautilus aspires to turn into sea floor mines."
Dr. Rosenbaum continued, "Can you imagine the damage and pollution that would occur if Solwara 1 and these other proposed deep sea mines become a reality? Nautilus plans to have a 1.6 km long pipe moving ore slurry from the sea floor to the surface. An Independent oceanographic assessment indicates that currents in Bismarck Sea would carry pollution from the Solwara 1 shorewards towards New Ireland province, the Duke of York Islands and possibly to the coast of East New Britain.2
"Where are our emergency response plans?"' asks Jonathan Mesulam from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors3& and a local community leader whose village is located in New Ireland province, only 25km from the proposed Solwara 1 project.
"There is already great uncertainty about the environmental damage that will occur from the normal operation of Solwara 1. But such serious earthquakes will cause a catastrophe! Nautilus's equipment has never been tested under these extreme conditions. We have no capacity at either provincial or national level to deal with such an event."
Jonathon Mesulam continued, "Papua New Guinea sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire. What was our Government thinking by approving Solwara 1? And not only did they approve the project but they have also invested heavily to purchase a 15% stake in this experimental venture. The company's only credible shareholder, Anglo American, divested itself of this dodgy project in May and Nautilus's share price has now hit an all-time low.4,5 Why is our National Government still backing this loser?"
For more information:
- AUSTRALIA - Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining Campaign, hrose[at]vic.chariot.net.au, +61 413201793
- PAPUA NEW GUINEA - Jonathan Mesulam, Alliance of Solwara Warriors, mesulamjonathan[at]gmail.com, +675 7003 8933
 The site for the proposed Solwara 1 mine is located 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.
 Physical Oceanographic Assessment of the Nautilus Environmental Impact Statement for the Solwara 1 Project - An Independent Review, November 2012. http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp- content/uploads/EIS-Review-FINAL-low-res.pdf
 The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is a growing group of communities and supporters opposing sea bed mining from Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and Milne Bay Provinces
 Anglo American to exit stake in deep sea mining company, Neil Hume, Financial Times, 4 May 2018 https://www.ft.com/content/ad58aee6-4fad-11e8-a7a9-37318e776bab; Anglo American to end investment in deep sea mining company Nautilus, Reuters, 4 May 2018; https://www.reuters.com/article/us-anglo-american- m-a/anglo-american-to-end-investment-in-deep-sea-mining-company-nautilus-idUSKBN1I523Z
 Nautilus website stock information, http://www.nautilusminerals.com/irm/content/stock- information.aspx?RID=269&RedirectCount=1