PNG Gives OK to Deep-Sea Mining

Well shit…

The green-lighting of the world’s first deep-sea mineral mine in Papua New Guinea waters has caused alarm among scientists and indigenous people who fear it will damage local marine life.

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister, Michael Somare, today licensed the new mine for ore that contains copper, zinc and gold, to be run by Canadian company Nautilus Minerals. Sited in the Manus Basin within Papua New Guinea’s territorial waters, it will be near hydrothermal vents 1,600 metres below the surface.

Driven by rising copper prices around the world, Nautilus’ Solwara 1 project will excavate 1.2 to 1.8m tonnes of high-grade sulphide ore a year.

Scientists are concerned about the scale of the mining. Paul Tyler from the University of Southampton and chair of the Census of Marine Life said: “Hydrothermal vents have a very distinctive fauna that is only found on hydrothermal vents so mining close to the vents could wipe out the vents or cause a large amount of damage in the surrounding area.”

Join me in singing along. Replace lyrics as you see fit. Perhaps we can convince KZ to gives us a modified version on his Whiskey Wednesday show.

via Papua New Guinea gives green light to deep-sea mineral mine | Environment |

Dr. M (1729 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a National Science Foundation supported initiative. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (, a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web. His forthcoming book, Science of the South (, connects cultural icons of South such as pecan pie with the science behind them.

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4 comments on “PNG Gives OK to Deep-Sea Mining
  1. Pingback: Lancashire MCS Blog » Blog Archive » Marine Science roundup, 22nd October 2010

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