Islands prepare to deal with global mining interest

2012-12-02T00:00:00Z

<p style="text-align: justify;">At a time when government of countries like New Zealand are trying hard to convince their populations of the benefits of seabed mining amidst shrill protests fuelled by fears for preserving the integrity of the environment, several South Pacific Island states are coming into the reckoning of mining giants from across the world.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">As the first ever production from the world’s first commercial deep sea minerals mine in PNG comes close to becoming a reality, reports indicate that expressions of interest by private companies who wish to prospect for precious metals within the island countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) are flowing in. Mining experts believe this could well lead to a whole new mining industry in the small island states.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The success of PNG has generated a flurry of activity across regional governments to ready their bureaucracies to deal with the requests and expressions of interest that are bound to come in as prospecting research begins to confirm the existence of mineral wealth in the seabed beneath their sovereign territories.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The governments are mindful of the policy initiatives required to shape appropriate legislation. Countries like the Cook Islands have already begun legislating for permitting global players to mine in its waters. Being first of the blocks, PNG has had its fair share of problems with public concerns of safety, ecological damage and sustainability. Other island countries are watching PNG deal with these situations and are formulating their own policies.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">With better informed leaders and citizens, the wild west days of mineral prospecting and mining that was seen as recently a few decades ago are clearly a relic of the past. Island governments are emerging better equipped legally and with relevant policy frameworks to leverage their mineral wealth to the best possible advantage of their people while ensuring all activity is carried out sustainably.</p>