How PNG lost US$120 million and the future of deep-sea mining | Land Portal
How PNG lost US$120 million and the future of deep-sea mining

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Date of publication: 
April 2020
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In January this year, the managing director of Papua New Guinea’s Mineral Resources Authority declared that the proposal to develop what had once been touted as the world’s first deep-sea mine would ‘not get off the ground’. This was a far cry from the optimism that surrounded the grant of the first seabed exploration licence to Nautilus Minerals Ltd, a company formerly listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), back in 1997. The PNG government was still enthusiastic when it granted the company its first mining licence in 2011 — so much so that it opted to purchase a 30 percent stake in the project, the maximum allowed under the terms of PNG’s Mining Act. But by that time a cloud of controversy already surrounded the project as a rainbow coalition of environmental defenders and orthodox Christians mounted a campaign against the treatment of PNG as the proverbial guinea pig in a ghastly industrial experiment. Some members of this coalition are now asking why the government has not cancelled the mining licence if the project is dead in the water.

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