24 Oct 2012

PNG government petitioned to stop seabed mining

1:17 pm on 24 October 2012

Landowners in Papua New Guinea have presented a petition to the government calling for a controversial plan to mine the seabed to be stopped.

A petition with more than 20,000 signatures has been given to the Mining Minister Byron Chan by residents from the provinces of Madang, Oro and New Britain.

Last year, the Canadian company Nautilus Minerals was granted a 20-year permit by the government of Sir Michael Somare to mine an area in the Bismarck Sea to a depth of 1.6 kilometres.

The plan to mine gold and copper on the sea floor is the first of its kind in the world.

But residents say they have seen dead fish washing up on beaches and that the water has been polluted by the exploration work.

The new PNG government, led by Peter O'Neill, is reportedly challenging the deal and wants to make a number of amendments.