A World Bank report has advised Pacific Island countries supporting or considering deep-sea mining activities to proceed with caution to avoid irreversible damage to the ecosystem.
The report is titled “Pacific Possible: Precautionary Management of Deep Sea Mining Potential in Pacific Island Countries”.
It says countries need to ensure that appropriate social and environmental safeguards are in place as part of strong governance arrangements for the emerging deep-sea mining industry.
The report says deep-sea exploration of minerals and resources was increasing globally.
But its short and long-term impacts on the environment, economy and society in general remain largely unknown.
The report, released for public comment, takes stock of what is known and unknown about deep sea mining – its costs, impacts and potential revenue.
It highlights the need to develop both the evidence base for informed decisions and appropriate governance structures.
The report recommends that precautionary measures be applied and identified six alternative management responses including a no-development option, a set aside to be established, the use of technological innovation to minimise impacts and adaptive management .
The report also notes that PNG is the only country in the Pacific to have granted a license for ocean-floor mining, through the Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 project.
Meanwhile Nautilus Minerals Inc chief executive officer Mike Johnston expressed his disappointment over the report saying it lacked credible information on some of the work currently being done and had already been done by countries such as PNG to address those issues raised.
Johnston said it was disappointing that the World Bank and the authors of the report did not consult Nautilus or the relevant PNG authorities for facts on the operations.
He said most of the things recommended by the report was being done by Papua New Guinea. Read more on >> Pacific Mining Watch
The National / ONE PNG