Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Seabed mining in PNG

The Sea Turtle Restoration Project says (3 July) villagers from Bababag Island in Papua New Guinea are demanding a stop to deep sea mining in the Pacific. PNG is said to be a "testing ground for the controversial practice of seabed mining".

Back on 18 May Jochen Halfar and Rodney M. Fujita wrote (Danger of Deep-Sea Mining Science 18 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5827, p. 987):
There has been little progress toward creation of environmental regulatory systems specific to deep-sea mining by governments with jurisdiction over massive sulfide deposits. Some of these governments have a poor track record of mine oversight and regulation on land, so prospects appear poor for sound regulation of underwater mining. It is time to implement scientific, technological, and legal measures to minimize negative environmental impacts (including discouraging deep-sea mining activities near sensitive habitats) and to set up mechanisms to recover costs of regulation and enforcement from this nascent industry. Large capital investments and generation of revenues by underwater mining operations are likely to make regulation after onset of commercial operations even more difficult once deep-sea mining becomes a reality.

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