The SPC-EU Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is helping Pacific Island countries to improve the governance and management of their deep-sea minerals resources through improved legal frameworks, increased technical capacity and effective monitoring systems.
A primary objective of the project is to support informed and careful governance of any deep sea mining activities in accordance with international law, with particular attention to the protection of the marine environment and securing equitable financial arrangements for Pacific Island countries and their people. The Project is also working to encourage and support participatory decision-making in the governance and management of national deep sea minerals resources.
The Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is funded by the European Union and managed by SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience & Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, on behalf of 15 Pacific Island Countries: the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Despite the rapidly growing commercial interest in deep sea minerals many Pacific nations do not have the necessary legal or management systems needed to ensure the responsible management of these important natural resources. In response to this urgent need Pacific Island countries requested the development of a regional project to help governments develop the national frameworks and technical capacity needed to strengthen the management of their national deep sea mineral resources.
The 4-year (2011-2014) SPC-EU Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is the first major initiative designed to regulate this new activity in a coordinated way within the Pacific Region. The €4.4 million EU-funded project is designed to help national governments develop the legal, fiscal and environment management frameworks needed to ensure that any exploitation of deep sea minerals will directly support national economic development while also minimizing any negative impacts on the environment and local communities.