Deep concerns remain in PNG on mining in the Bismarck Sea

7:24 pm on 24 November 2016

A Papua New Guinea NGO says communities around the Bismarck Sea are not convinced by government assurances over the safety of seabed mining.

Copper on the sea floor

Copper on the sea floor Photo: Nautilus Minerals

Canadian company Nautilus Minerals is expected to begin its Solwara 1 project in 2018 in what is set to be the world's first seabed mining operation.

The Bismarck Ramu Group was concerned that government gave approval for the project after only one environmental impact study carried out by Nautilus.

Collecting machine.

Collecting machine. Photo: Nautilus Minerals

The NGO's Christina Tony said that despite assurances to New Ireland communities by both government and Nautilus that they don't have anything to worry about, people are deeply worried.

"They are asking questions about how the government and nautilus can gurantee them that these machines will not have a direct impact on the ecosystem that we depend on. The Bismarck sea and the Solwara 1 project is used as a science lab by Nautilus," said Christina Tony.