Solwara

26
Dec
2018

Source: Mongabay
Author: David Hutt

An ambitious plan to mine precious minerals from the ocean floor off the coast of Papua New Guinea looks to have run aground due to the developer’s financial problems.

In 2011, the government of Papua New Guinea granted Canada-based Nautilus Minerals a 20-year mining license covering roughly 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles) of the Bismarck Sea, off the country’s eastern coast. The Solwara 1 project was the first in the world to be granted rights for deep-sea mining, whereby enormous machines would dig into the ocean floor, harvesting zinc, copper and gold, and other commodities essential to building electrical equipment.

Continue reading After the loss of a ship, deep sea mining plans for PNG founder

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19
Dec
2018

Source: DSM Observer
Author: Andrew Thaler

2018 was supposed to be the year for Nautilus Minerals. Their three seafloor production tools—large underwater robots capable of mining seafloor massive sulphides from 1600 meters depth—were finally in hand and undergoing submerged testing. Their ship, the Nautilus New Era, was nearing completion. They had only a few hurdles left to clear before beginning production at Solwara I, the much-vaunted site of the world’s first deep sea mining operation.

Then the floor dropped out.

Continue reading For Nautilus Minerals, the debt comes due.

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6
Dec
2018

Source: The Economist

After listing on the Toronto stock exchange in 2006 Nautilus Minerals became the public face of a daring new industry: deep-sea mining. It planned to pursue riches on the ocean floor, mining metals such as gold, zinc and copper, desired for lustre, alloys and electronics. Robotic machines (pictured) would cut, grind and gather volcanic rock at a site called Solwara 1, located 1,600 metres beneath the surface of the Bismarck Sea near Papua New Guinea (png). The resultant rocky slurry would be pumped up to a support vessel, then shipped to a site at which the metals could be extracted. Investors were convinced; Nautilus’s shares doubled from their initial price of c$2 ($1.80) in a few months.

Continue reading A high-profile deep-sea mining company is struggling

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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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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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1
Jun
2018

Source: Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly
Author: Dylan Slater

Deep-sea mining is yet to become a major activity, and not much is known about undersea mineral deposits. However, some in the mining industry claim that the deep seafloor could be host to an abundant, untapped resource of highly sought-after commodities that may be relatively easy to access once machinery has been developed to operate under high pressures in submerged environments and salty water.

Continue reading Canada’s Nautilus aiming to start marine mining in 2019 despite enviro concerns

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