23 Mar 2016

Pacific Community defends seabed law review

8:32 pm on 23 March 2016

The Director of Geoscience at the Pacific Community has fended off criticism of the organisation's framework for seabed mining legislation, saying the document is just a starting point.

Sampling copper under the sea

Photo: Nautilus Minerals

The NGO, Pacific Network on Globalisation, carried out an assessment of the framework with Blue Ocean Law and said it lacked indigenous and environmental safeguards.

But the SPC's Michael Petersen said the authors could have consulted the SPC and found the framework, which was first published in 2012, was currently being overhauled.

"For a 57 page document personally I think we do cover some of the areas which the criticism is alleging that we don't cover. We probably can improve, of course we can. But I think it is unfair to say that we haven't at least given this significant treatment in the document itself."

Michael Petersen said there were some valid points raised in the review but it was mostly too harsh on the framework, which was designed as a starting point and not a bench-mark for seabed mining legislation in the region.