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SEABED MINING WON’T BENEFIT PNG PEOPLE: WOMEN’S REP Claims project was ‘imposed’ on community

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Dec. 5, 2011) – A representative of coastal communities bordering a planned deep sea mining operation in Papua New Guinea says local people stand to gain little from the gold that’s extracted.

The Papua New Guinea government awarded the Canadian company, Nautilus Minerals, the world’s first deep-sea mining lease in January to develop its copper-gold project by searching for mineral deposits in the Bismark Sea.

Jane Kesno, the president of the Namatanai District Council of Women in New Ireland Province, says seas in the area are rich in tuna and many other forms of marine life.

She says the project has been imposed on the people by the government.

"You know our people are not that educated to the level where they can either oppose or accept or participate in these forms of negotiations taking place. Most of these discussions and negotiations take place in hotels, in towns, in Port Moresby, in places far away from those communities."

Jane Kesno says the people of Namatanai will be lobbying their MP, Byron Chan, who is also the mining minister, to have the project delayed while more information is sought.

[PIR editor’s note: The National reports that company representatives from Nautilus Minerals have said the company will focus on training local people "in deep sea mining and exploration."]

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