22 Feb 2012

Call for SPC to listen to Pacific communities over seabed mining

12:38 pm on 22 February 2012

The Pacific's technical advisory body, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, is being urged to listen to the views of the region's communities on seabed mining.

The SPC has drafted a legislative framework on deep sea mining, intended as a guide for Pacific countries with ocean floor mineral resources.

The national co-ordinator of Papua New Guinea's marine conservation group, Mas Kagin Tapani, joins others in criticising the European Union-funded framework for its lack of protection of those likely to be affected by extractive work.

PNG is the first Pacific country to have granted a commercial mining licence, with a Bismarck Sea project scheduled to start in 2013.

Mas Kagin Tapani's Wenceslaus Magun says 85 percent of PNG people and especially those in the vicinity of the project live on marine life.

"SPC, being Pacific Islanders working for SPC, they know that very well. They have to come out, get out of their air-conditioned offices there in Fiji, come to Papua New Guinea, visit the local communities, call for the views of the people themselves, not please the European Union who is funding their operations in Fiji."

Mas Kagin Tapani's Wenceslaus Magun.