13 Aug 2012

PNG's Mining Minister tries to stop deep sea mining project

6:57 pm on 13 August 2012

Papua New Guinea's Mining minister says he'll closely monitor the Solwara 1 deep sea mining project in the Bismarck Sea to make sure the Canadian firm leading the project conducts itself responsibly.

Nautilus Minerals has been granted a licence by the PNG government for the world's first commercial deep sea mining operation.

Solwara 1 is opposed by environmentalists who claim the risks of the project are unknown and that PNG will be the guinea pig for deep-sea mining.

Byron Chan says that before he became Minister, he tried, as the local MP in New Ireland, to stall the project.

"However I could not revoke the previous government's decision because we were binded by that ten-year mining lease. As a minister now, I have to monitor any activities of this company and make sure that Nautilus itself must be responsible. So if it's in breach of any part of its agreement, then the license will be revoked or re-looked at."

Byron Chan