Isaac sharing his views on Seabed Mining
The pressure is on for the people of West Coast New Ireland in Papua New Guinea to accept that Nautilus Minerals will rip apart their fishing ground including their livelihood to experiment with seabed mining.
Nautilus Minerals was given the go ahead by New Ireland Province Governor Sir Julius Chan in August (PNG Loop) even though he was skeptical about the environmental impacts of this Experimental Seabed Mining or Solwara 1 Project.
An eighteen-year-old from Danu Village in West Coast Namatanai, Isaac Towera, has called on the governor to stop the Experimental Seabed Mining. “As the future generation of Danu, I know that this project will cause problems for us later on. It will destroy our sea and the fish, which we in the village rely on for a good life. So on behalf of the youth, we do not want this project because it will destroy our lives.”
Governor Chan stated that the province had no choice but to accept this deal because the National Government has already granted Nautilus Minerals the mining lease. He went on to state that “It is time for the people to finally eat some of the wealth that comes from their land.”
Isaac, however, pointed out that they are currently eating directly from the land and sea and it is Nautilus Minerals and their experimental seabed mining that will destroy that right and freedom. “We are getting good things from the sea such as fish and creatures from the reef but this project will destroy our sea and our reef will die which will destroy this good life.”
Isaac had the opportunity to share this with Palau and Christina from Bismarck Ramu Group (BRG) when they went to visit his community last month.
As pressure from international investors and the national government grew, it was deafening to hear the silence from the people of New Ireland.
The team’s visit to New Ireland Province proved that even though the majority of the people of West Coast Namatanai and the Province were against Experimental Seabed Mining they lacked the appropriate information and knowledge to effectively rise up against it.
Upon the team’s return from New Ireland, an email was received which contained the following:
“SUBJECT: URGENT REQUEST FOR EXPERIMENTAL SEABED MINE TRAINING/ WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 2015
As per the above, we are kindly requesting your team to come to New Ireland for an urgent training with locals around the West Coast Area.
The people here are totally opposing the idea of ESM, however, with inadequate knowledge on how to carry out campaigns or protest against the government they will now forced to accept something they totally dislike.
An initial visit by members of your organization (Christine & Paul) proves that New Ireland Province strongly rejects ESM.
With the current issue of fear and suppression, we feel that the way forward is to train and educate the locals on the basic rights to give them confidence in the campaign against ESM.
We therefore request an urgent training around November so that by next year we will rise up against the government and the Developer Nautilus Minerals.
Please threat our request as a matter of urgency.”
BRG is now working with the people of West Coast New Ireland to organize trainings for next month.
Danu Bay where locals gather marine protein
Girl use sea to clean sweet potatoe for lunch
Danu community Say No to Experimental Seabed Mine