Senator Bob Brown of the Australian Greens is likely to ask for a Senate inquiry into the impact of undersea mining. Using underwater robots for mining the sea floor is likely to have some environmental impact and the leader of the Australian Greens wants to find out what it will be.
The Senator has just come back from Papua New Guinea where the Solwara One gold and copper project is being implemented. It is the world’s first deep sea mine off the north coast of Papua New Guinea. Owned by Nautilus Minerals the Canadian firm is set to extract gold and copper from the floor of the Bismark Sea.
Senator Brown met the Environment Minister Benny Allan and representatives of the PNG Greens party during his visit. Besides the deep sea mining project he was also worried about the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang which was dumping contaminated waste in the sea.
The Senator said that the deep sea project was experimenting with new robot technologies on the sea floor. If it works there, and Singaporean vessels are currently involved in experimenting with that, may extend to oceans elsewhere around the world and of course, the dumping from the process metals there is going to be left on the sea floor as well, he said. He felt that it was a very, very worrying direction for mining to be taking.