11 Jun 2013

Vanuatu promised wide consultation on seabed mining licenses

4:03 pm on 11 June 2013

Vanuatu's Minister of Lands, Ralph Regenvanu, says there will be wide consultation before any more seabed mining licenses are issued in Vanuatu.

Mr Regenvanu says he was disconcerted to learn the government has issued 145 offshore mining exploration and prospecting licenses over the past five years.

He says another three licenses have been issued for oil exploration.

The minister, who was opening a regional training session on the social impacts of seabed mining, says the licenses were issued without any proper rules or understanding of the issue.

He says the licenses had approval only from the Minister of Lands at the time not the Council of Ministers, nor Parliament.

Mr Regenvanu says almost all the licenses were issued to two companies, Bismarck Mining Corporation and Nautilus Minerals.