PNG community groups unite against seabed mining

3:35 pm on 26 April 2016

Community-based organisations in the region surrounding Papua New Guinea's Bismarck Sea have united against seabed mining in the country.

Sampling copper under the sea

Sampling copper under the sea Photo: Nautilus Minerals

The PNG Solwara Warriors collective is made up of more than 20 organisations from Madang, New Britain, Manus and New Ireland.

One of the front's leaders, Patrick Kaupun, said the decision to unite came after numerous individual petitions by the respective organisations fell on deaf ears.

The government and mining company, Nautilus, hope to start a world-first operation to mine the Bismarck seabed by 2018, despite vocal opposition from activists and some scientists.

Mr Kaupun said a single united petition and major events across the region were being planned to voice their opposition.

"It is under the PNG government reform systems that we should have got this bottom up planning and people's free, prior [and informed] consent, and all those things were not done," Mr Kaupun said.

"And it was actually top down [approach] that is why we are actually standing for our rights, for our democracy and for our country."