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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  

Newsflash

The World GIS Day, celebrated on 14th November every year, offers everyone a chance to learn more about the fascinating field of Geographic Information Systems and how GIS is part of our everyday lives today. 

"Many young people are using GIS technology every day without even realising it. Many smart phone applications and social media tools combine data with maps to deliver unique services to consumers and Google Earth is known by most of us" advised Dr Wulf Killmann Team Leader of the SPC/GIZ project “Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region” and Dr Russell Howorth, Director of the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in a joint statement released to recognise World GIS Day.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are a set of computer-based tools used to collect, combine and overlay information in the form of easily understood maps constructed from up-to-date satellite images and field data, while remote sensing is the collection of information about the earth from a distance.

In the Pacific, GIS is now being used as a tool to map landslides, detect vegetation change, map town boundaries, map impacts of sea level rise and many more. GIS is quite useful in the area of utility, transportation, and might become a tool to model climate change.

Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) of Secretariat of the Pacific Community is the leading agency for GIS in the Pacific and hold images and GIS Data for its member countries and territories. SOPAC's primary goal is to apply geoscientific data and technology to realise new opportunities for improving the livelihoods of Pacific communities. SOPAC's work in GIS and remote sensing is supported by many partners including the German Government through the SPC/GIZ, Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island region.

While GIS practitioners around the world celebrates this day by holding workshops, seminars. The SOPAC division of SPC, supported by many partners, is working tirelessly to organise a conference held each year for all Pacific island countries and territories.