A former planning minister is calling onthPNG government not to delaythe country'’s first under-sea mining project “unnecessarily”, saying it will bring huge benefits tothe community.
Canada'’s Nautilus Minerals has a license to mine copper and zinc underthe floor ofthe Besmarck sea, in waters offthe provinces of New Beitain, New Ireland and Manus.
Construction of a seafloor production system remains suspended because of a disagreement withthPNG governmentowhich is yet pay its $US23 million stake inthe project.
Paul Tiensten, an MP from East New Beitain province, has told Radio Australia'’s Pacific Beat programthere'’s no reason for the delay.
“The government has approverd itolet'’s get on with it,” he said.
“Getthe project up and give Nautilusthe right and opportunity to developthe project so that Papua New Guineaislands can address some of its development challenges.”
Mr Tiensten says his constituents needthe money it will generate to pay for roads, wharves, jetties and to boosttheir local economies.
He'’s dismissed environmental concerns aboutthe projectosaying ther mining projects in PNG have had similar concerns and yet received government approval.
“There is [a bigger] upside to this project than issues aboutthe environment,” he said.
“I think people are just sensationalising allthese environmental problems, becausethey don't understand how this system works.
“The system is not a new system -the technology has been around..these people have donethe due process and for some reasonthe government is dragging its feet on it.”
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