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Deep Sea Mining Moratorium

"The Melanesian Spearhead Group put in place a moratorium on deep-sea mining within its member countries’ territorial water in a declaration signed Aug. 24.

Leaders from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and an alliance of pro-independence political parties known as FLNKS from the French territory of New Caledonia said more research is needed to establish whether mining the seabed below 200 meters (660 feet) is possible without damaging ecosystems and fisheries.

The moratorium ostensibly thwarts the return of Nautilus Minerals, a Canadian company, to Papua New Guinea and its Solwara 1 project in the Bismarck Sea, where it had hoped to mine gold and copper from sulfide deposits on the seafloor.

Proponents of deep-sea mining say that minerals found deep beneath the ocean are necessary for the production of batteries used in electric vehicles and thus are critical in the global transition away from fossil fuels.": https://news.mongabay.com/2023/09/pacific-alliance-adopts-moratorium-on-deep-sea-mining-halting-resurgent-png-project/

"The group wants more independent research done before mining begins, arguing that the ocean already faces a raft of problems, from plastic pollution to acidification and overfishing.

“To have deep-sea mining, it’s just going to compound all these issues,” she told me as we bobbed up and down in the water.

“It doesn’t make sense to me to solve an environmental issue by creating another environmental issue.”

The longer I spent in the Cook Islands, the clearer it became; the ocean is entwined in every aspect of South Pacific life, from livelihoods to cultural traditions.

There is a joke here, that only lazy people starve. The ocean has always provided food – you just have to catch it.

Evans argues that deep-sea mining threatens to destroy this way of life.

“It [a healthy ocean] is really important for tourism, but also in terms of our subsistence fishing and our industrial fishing. There’s a lot of economic benefit to having a beautiful, pristine environment,” she said.

But Evans fears the government has already convinced many Cook Islanders that mining could turn the country into the Dubai of the South Pacific.

“They’ve been talking to communities all around the country and only giving one side of the story,” she said.

“I think there’s definitely a portion of our community that are drunk on the idea of riches from mining.”": Go to: https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2023/4/20/after-days-at-sea-with-the-cook-islands-pm-heres-what-i-learned for Al Jazeera documentary (recommended).