by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
The non-government organisation (NGO), Pacific Network on Globalisation has slammed the 13th Mining and Petroleum Conference as encouragement for investment in destruction.
Executive Director of the Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Greg Anderson described the recently-ended Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference as a successbut he also mentioned the pressures currently faced amidst a downturn in commodity prices. He told Radio New Zealand:
“We have some wonderful new projects that have been advanced considerably, and the prospects that have been advanced in recent years, we will see those go forward. At a slower rate perhaps in the coming years, but they will definitely be moving forward. Two of our best mining prospects are going forward and we hope that they will catch the next cycle in the turn up of copper gold price.”
Pacific Network on Globalisation coordinator, Maureen Penjueli described the Mining and Petroleum Investment Conference as a showcase of opportunities for destructive investment, as well as a spotlight on PNG’s status as the first country to allow seabed mining.
“There has been increasing vocal opposition by not just customary landowners, non-government groups, churches have taken a significant role, and also environmentalists and scientists. One of the things that we are concerned about is that government has gone ahead to issue both exploration licences and commercial licences without the consent of customary landowners.”
Maureen Penjueli’s words ring true amongst the communities; the people of Karkar Island in Madang have maintained their disagreement with the Nautilus Minerals venture in the Bismarck Sea. In 2012, a petition to stop the advance of seabed mining in the country, containing 24,000 local and global signatures was handed to the minister concerned, Byron Chan and virtually ignored.
Despite this, Mr Anderson told Radio New Zealand:
“Anyone who knows the business in PNG knows that nothing goes ahead without the support of the community. There’s more community involvement, there’s more grassroots involvement in Papua New Guinea than probably any other country on the globe…
“There is already an agreement for the project that provides royalty benefits to adjacent provinces as well as the stream going to some of the coastal people and community projects will be implemented.”
Support for the stop of the Nautilus Minerals venture has been protested worldwide amongst scientists, NGOs, customary landowners and environmentalists alike.
More on the issue can be read in this report.