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Home News & Media Releases Latest Workshop to set platform for management of Deep Seabed Minerals

Workshop to set platform for management of Deep Seabed Minerals

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A major project to address legislative, regulatory, capacity requirements and environmental issues pertaining to deep sea mineral mining for countries in the Pacific region will be launched at a three-day workshop from June 6 through June 8 in Nadi.

The Deep Sea Minerals Project, administered by SOPAC, a division of SPC, and funded by EU, is to develop a legislative and regulatory framework for deep-sea mineral mining over a four-year period.

“This will help ensure that sustainable resource management would bring tangible benefits to Pacific Island Countries and their people”, said Akuila Tawake, Deep Sea Minerals Project Team Leader.

The workshop, a part of the Project, reflects the growing interest in the region with the first commercial mining lease being granted in Papua New Guinea territorial waters to mine ‘high grade’ Seafloor Massive Sulphide (SMS) deposits.

SMS deposits include copper, gold, silver, zinc and lead. This, in turn has triggered growing interest in mining deep-sea minerals in the Pacific Region. In addition to SMS, the seabed of the region is abundant in manganese nodules and cobalt rich crusts.

Presently, about eight countries in the region have granted and/or are at various stages of granting exploration licenses but specific policy, legislation and regulations necessary for the control of deep-sea mineral resources are lacking.

“The purpose of the workshop is to help representatives of those countries participating in the Project to better understand issues related to seabed minerals and mining,” said Mr. Tawake.

“In addition,” he said, “this workshop would allow stakeholders, including representatives of participating countries, to discuss all aspects of the project and work towards an agreement on a way forward for the next four years. “

Fifteen of the world’s top technical, policy and environmental experts on issues relating to deep sea minerals will take part in the workshop.

“These are world renowned experts who are specialists in their own fields of studies and interests. We are fortunate to secure their services for the regional workshop,” said Mr Tawake.

He said that they are expected to provide the necessary advice and guidance during the workshop.

The workshop will be followed by a two-day steering committee meeting of these selected experts on June 9 and 10 on an assessment of regional marine mineral resources.  The assessment will be based on past scientific studies and exploration.

“This meeting is part of the SPC and the Norway based UNEP/GRID-Arendal, (the United Nations Environment Programme information office) partnership,” said Mr Tawake. It is expected that the outcomes from this assessment will take one year to complete.”

Countries that are participating in the Project are 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.

Photo captionAkuila Tawale. Deep Sea Mineral Project Team Leader

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 May 2011 05:41  


This is our first edition for 2012. Although we'd have liked to get to all of our readers earlier in the year our Snapshots Editor was on a much deserved break. Well, Stephanie's back and raring to go! Her first task: to sort through a number of 'candidates' for this edition. There's been quite a lot happening.

One of our major commitments for 2012 is to work closely with SPREP and the UNISDR to lead the process of developing an integrated regional strategy for DRM and Climate Change by 2015. We've had a series of meetings with these partner organisations this year and we're almost ready to move forward and recruit an individual to lead the preparatory work. In addition, we have the biennial progress reviews of the Hyogo Framework for Action and Pacific DRR and DM Framework for Action which will undertaken at regional level and as well at national level in all 14 Pacific island countries between May and September.

As it has been every year since 2009 the Pacific Platform for DRM signifies a major commitment in the DRP calendar for 2012. This year's meeting will be held in Noumea, New Caledonia from 17th - 21st September. As we progress over the coming months we'll provide you accounts of our preparations.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of Snapshots and as always if you have any queries or helpful suggestions just drop us a line.

Mosese Sikivou
Deputy Director, Disaster Reduction Programme

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