Mining

13
Nov
2018

Source: Papua New Guinea Mine Watch

On 17-18 November, 21 heads of state will come to Port Moresby for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. Set against a backdrop of debts and a declining economy the Nautilus Solwara 1 project speaks volume to another PNG Government failed investment that will be a further economic burden to the country.

Sir Arnold Amet, former Papua New Guinean Attorney General and Minister for Justice Papua New Guinea, “Nautilus is propped up by USD 15 million in loans from its two major shareholders, it’s been forced to reduce its workforce and to terminate contracts for the construction of equipment.”[1]

Continue reading Nautilus Solwara 1 on the verge of bankruptcy as APEC Summit heads to Papua New Guinea

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8
Nov
2018

** Please note: the DSCC is of the view that deep-seabed mining is neither imminent or necessary, as may be implied by the author of the article below. **

Source: The Economist

Diva Amon, a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London, spotted her first whale skull in 2013, during an expedition to the Clarion Clipperton Zone (ccz) in the tropical Pacific. It sat on beige silt, some 4,000 metres beneath the sea’s surface, and was entirely covered in a black coating. Her find was twice notable. First, the skull’s coating meant it was millions of years old, for it was made of the same slowly accumulating metallic oxides as the potato-like ore nodules that are drawing miners to the area. Second, the discovery highlighted how little is known about the deep ocean. Dr Amon’s whale skull, and others like it, raise questions about the trade-offs between the economic gains of mining the seabed and that mining’s environmental consequences.

Continue reading Scientists express concern for what mining the deep ocean will mean for existing denizens of the abyss

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31
Oct
2018

Source: Natural History Museum (UK)
Author: Katie Pavid

Scientists have collected data on a tiny sponge thought to be at risk from seabed mining.

This newly discovered species could be a ‘canary in a coal mine’ to allow scientists to monitor the impacts of this new industry.

The Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ) is a vast area of the Pacific Ocean between Mexico and Hawaii. At six million square kilometres, it is roughly 24 times bigger than the UK.

The zone is important because it’s the world’s largest area of ocean that is targeted for deep-sea mining. Mineral companies and nation states, eager to secure access to precious metals, are attracted to the area because it is rich in polymetallic nodules – small chunks of minerals scattered on the seafloor.

Continue reading The tiny sponge that could help preserve our deep oceans

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29
Oct
2018

Source: Business Insider South Africa
Author: Jay Caboz

South Africa has launched 20 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), that together cover an area two and a half times the size of the Kruger National Park, some 50,000 square kilometres.

After it was signed off last week by cabinet, 5% of South Africa’s waters are now protected areas, compared to 0.4% previously. This means that fishing won’t be allowed in these areas.

Continue reading These parts of the South African ocean – home to ancient coral and sea slugs that can fight cancer – will now be protected

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15
Oct
2018

Source: Radio NZ

A campaigner against deep sea mining says recent earthquakes in Papua New Guinea’s Islands region mean a proposed mining project is a disaster waiting to happen.

On Thursday last week, a magnitude 7.0 quake struck off the south coast of New Britain island, the second major quake in the area this year.

Meanwhile, Canadian company Nautilus Minerals is pushing ahead with its Solwara 1 project, which will dredge the seafloor between the islands of New Ireland and New Britain.

Helen Rosenbaum from the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said the seismic activity only makes the project more of a threat to PNG.

Continue reading PNG earthquakes raise concerns over seabed mining project

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12
Oct
2018

Source: Deep Sea Mining Campaign

The United States Geological Survey reported that a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck close to the proposed Solwara 1 deep sea mine near in Papua New Guinea yesterday at 7am local time. This follows a magnitude 6.6 quake nearby in March.

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, of the Deep Sea Mining Campaign said: “Thankfully there have been no reports of damage or injury.  However, this is the second large earthquake this year right near the Solwara 1 deep sea mine proposed by Canadian company Nautilus.1 It’s also in the vicinity of several other exploration tenements in the Bismarck Sea between East New Britain and New Ireland Provinces that Nautilus aspires to turn into sea floor mines.”

Dr. Rosenbaum continued, “Can you imagine the damage and pollution that would occur if Solwara 1 and these other proposed deep sea mines become a reality?  Nautilus plans to have a 1.6 km long pipe moving ore slurry from the sea floor to the surface.  An Independent oceanographic assessment indicates that currents in Bismarck Sea would carry pollution from the Solwara 1 shorewards towards New Ireland province, the Duke of York Islands and possibly to the coast of East New Britain.2   

“Where are our emergency response plans?”‘ asks Jonathan Mesulam from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors3 and a local community leader whose village is located in New Ireland province, only 25km from the proposed Solwara 1 project.

“There is already great uncertainty about the environmental damage that will occur from the normal operation of Solwara 1. But such serious earthquakes will cause a catastrophe!  Nautilus’s equipment has never been tested under these extreme conditions. We have no capacity at either provincial or national level to deal with such an event.”

Jonathon Mesulam continued, ” Papua New Guinea sits right on the Pacific Ring of Fire.  What was our Government thinking by approving Solwara 1. And not only did they approve the project but they have also invested heavily to purchase a 15% stake in this experimental venture.  The company’s only credible shareholder Anglo American divested itself of this dodgy project in May and Nautilus’s share price has now hit an all-time low.4,5 Why is our National Government still backing this loser?”

For more information

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Jonathan Mesulam, Alliance of Solwara Warriors
mesulamjonathan[at]gmail.com, +675 7003 8933

AUSTRALIA
Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining Campaign,
hrose[at]vic.chariot.net.au, +61 413201793

NOTES

[1] The site for the proposed Solwara 1 mine is located the Bismarck Sea of Papua New Guinea, approximately 25 km from the coastline of New Ireland Province, about 35 km from Duke of York Islands and 60 km from Kokopo township in East New Britain.

[2] Physical Oceanographic Assessment of the Nautilus Environmental Impact Statement for the Solwara 1 Project – An Independent Review, November 2012. http://www.deepseaminingoutofourdepth.org/wp-content/uploads/EIS-Review-FINAL-low-res.pdf

[3] The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is a growing group of communities and supporters opposing sea bedmining from Madang, East New Britain, New Ireland, Manus and Milne Bay Province

[4] Anglo American to exit stake in deep sea mining company, Neil Hume, Financial Times, 4 May 2018 https://www.ft.com/content/ad58aee6-4fad-11e8-a7a9-37318e776bab; Anglo American to end investment in deep sea mining company Nautilus, Reuters, 4 May 2018; https://www.reuters.com/article/us-anglo-american-m-a/anglo-american-to-end-investment-in-deep-sea-mining-company-nautilus-idUSKBN1I523Z

[5] Nautilus website stock information, http://www.nautilusminerals.com/irm/content/stock-information.aspx?RID=269&RedirectCount=1

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28
Sep
2018

Source: Bloomburg BNA
Author: Adam Ellington and Stephan Lee

Once thought too expensive and too difficult, commercial scale mining of the deep sea is poised to become a reality as early as 2019. But scientists warn reaching rare minerals on and under the sea floor could cause irreversible damage to an environment that is still poorly understood.

Continue reading Deep-Sea Mining for Rare-Earth Metals Looms, as Do Environmental Questions

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21
Sep
2018

Source: Nature
Author: Amy Maxmen

“Gummy squirrels,” single-celled organisms the size of softballs and strange worms thrive in a Pacific Ocean zone some considered an underwater desert.

Deep in the eastern central Pacific Ocean, on a stretch of sea floor nearly as big as the continental United States, researchers are discovering species faster than they can name them. And they are exploring newfound fossil beds of whales that lived up to 16 million years ago.

The findings — many reported for the first time last week at the Deep-Sea Biology Symposium in Monterey, California — have come as a shock. Some scientists had thought these vast underwater plains, 4,000–5,500 metres below the ocean surface, were relatively lifeless. But that is changing just as nations and corporations prepare to mine this patch of the Pacific sea bed for cobalt, manganese and other elements for use in technologies such as smartphones and electric cars.

Continue reading Discovery of vibrant deep-sea life prompts new worries over seabed mining

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17
Sep
2018

Source: Mining Technology
Author: JP Casey

From Rio Tinto’s bauxite operations in Australia to Nautilus’ Solwara 1 project in Papua New Guinean waters, the work of mining companies can have a significant – and often destructive – impact on local wildlife. Guidelines and legislation operating above the level of national governments could help to guide mining towards a less destructive future, but questions remain over their effectiveness.

Continue reading Urgent concern: how mining damages wildlife on land and at sea

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7
Sep
2018

Source: Phys.org

In cooperation with an international team, Senckenberg scientists examined the impact of deep-sea mining – such as the extraction of manganese nodules – on the species diversity at the ocean floor. They were able to show that even 26 years after the end of the mining activity a significant loss of ground-dwelling organisms can be registered. Filter-feeding animals are particularly affected – more than two decades after the mining operations, almost 80 percent of the species remain absent. The study was recently published in the scientific journal Biogeosciences.

Continue reading Deep-sea mining causes massive loss of species lasting for decades

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