PNG Governor Stands Firm Against Sea Bed Mining Project

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Northern Province Governor calls New Ireland project ‘illegal’

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 1, 2014) – Northern Governor Gary Juffa, pictured, claims that the activities undertaken by Nautilus Ltd in its Solwara 1 project in New Ireland are illegal.

He said in a statement yesterday that there was no legislation that would sanction, license or permit such actions.

He said that the current permits granted were illegal as they were for activities on land and not allowed for or sanctioned the exploitation of the sea-bed and minerals found in the area.

Juffa has been a critic of the project and has expressed grave concern that sea-bed mining has the potential for severe environmental degradation that would

negatively affect coastal communities in PNG.

"I insist that there should be no deep-sea mining in PNG," he said in the statement.

"Deep-sea mining has been banned in Australia and in Namibia and other nations that are concerned about the impact on the fragile ecosystems of the waters affected.

"Many elected Members of Parliament were against sea-bed mining but had been very quiet on the matter because they did not wish to upset the Government."

He said leaders had to speak up about their concerns for their people, the environment and the future interests of Papua New Guinea.

Juffa said the country did not need revenue from illegal projects that may cause damage to the coastal communities’ livelihoods.

"A petition containing 20,000 signatures was presented to the Minister for Mining Byron Chan in October 2012 at the Holiday Inn in Port Moresby," he said.

"He promised to respond in two weeks. It’s been a whole year and more now and these 20,000 people representing their

communities around PNG are being ignored."

Sumkar MP Ken Fairweather supported Juffa and expressed his concerns.

"The Government is trying to hide this in an obscure company no one has heard of. The whole policy of investing in resource projects is flawed and must be challenged," Fairweather said.

"Whatever verbal spin the Government wants to put on, this is a con job.

"I agree with Governor Juffa, it would have been better to spend the K300 million on the Sepik Plains Oil Palm project and create jobs."

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