10 Jun 2013

Seabed mining to be workshopped in Vanuatu next week

5:13 am on 10 June 2013

Vanuatu will host a workshop this week for Pacific governments to be advised on the emerging industry of seabed mining.

Scientists say rich deposits of gold and other precious 'rare earth' metals are found in seabeds from Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Fiji across to French Polynesia.

The mining company Nautilis Minerals was given a licence by PNG in 2011 to exploit seabeds in their exclusive economic zone.

Akuila Tawake, the team leader for the the Secretariat of the Pacific Community's Deep Sea Minerals Project, says advice to countries will focus on avoiding environmental impacts and problems with revenue management.

"We'll do everything we can to make sure that in any economic development we make sure we look after the environment, we are supporting the economic or socio-economic development of our various communities in the region."

Akuila Tawake says territories including French Polynesia are not included in the project, despite being member countries of the SPC.