Where Does Canada Stand on Deep Sea Mining?

Solwara Warriors – MiningWatch Canada

(Ottawa/Port Moresby) Last week, Jonathan Mesulam travelled from his home in Papua New Guinea in the south Pacific to speak about deep sea mining at an international conference on climate change and mining organized by MiningWatch Canada. 

Mesulam’s community, on the island province of New Ireland, has the dubious distinction of being the first Indigenous people on Earth to have spent nine years fighting off a Canadian company that planned to mine hydrothermal vents in the depths of the ocean just 30 kilometres away.

“I came to Canada to let Canadian people know of the negative impacts our people have experienced as a result of the exploration activities of the Canadian company Nautilus deep under our sea,” said Mesulam, “and to warn Canadians that deep sea mining could be coming to the shores of Canada.”

While in Ottawa, Mesulam met with senior civil servants from Natural Resources Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. He asked about Canadian legislation that currently protects Canada’s seabed from deep sea mining. Canadian legislation effectively prohibits deep sea mining as it is being proposed in other parts of the world from proceeding in Canadian territorial waters (see attached brief).

“It is difficult for people in Papua New Guinea, who are fighting to protect their critical marine resources from experimental deep sea mining by Canadian companies, such as Nautilus and DeepGreen, to learn that those same companies, which are headquartered in British Columbia, would not be allowed to mine the deep sea bed off the Canadian coast,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada.

Mesulam expressed the hope that Canadian officials may visit Papua New Guinea and share information about Canada’s mining regulations that effectively ban deep sea mining in Canadian waters with government officials and community leaders there.


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