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.