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Sea-bed mining in Oceania

By Abigail Seta

Port Moresby: The third day of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania Assembly had an intense session on sea-bed mining on Saturday, April 14th.

Professor Kaluwin Chalapan of the School of Natural and Physical Sciences University of Papua New Guinea was the keynote speaker at the session where he gave an insight to the Bishops on Challenges in Ocean & Coastal Governance and Achieving Sustainable Development Policy.

“The sea-level issue is one of the biggest challenges in Oceania,” he said.

“Why do you want to mine the ocean when we have resources on land? These are the kinds of issues in terms of governance and decision-making which becomes a challenge for many of us.”

He highlighted many challenges faced throughout PNG and Oceania, the importance of ownership of land and the development policies and acts for the sea.

Also at the session was the Solwara Warriors who dwelt on the issue of sea-bed mining and what they as an alliance are doing.

The group shared why sea-bed mining must be stopped and gave facts about Solwara 1. They stated that no-one knows the environmental impact it will have – not the scientists, Nautilus nor the Government.  There is no offshore mining act and no disaster management plan and the capacity to deal with disaster.

For the third part of the session, Monsignor Gerard Burns - Vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Wellington - spoke on Caritas Oceania.  

The program concluded with two workshops led by Bp Rochus Tatamai MSC who dwelt on Priesthood in Oceania and Bp Vincent Long who shared on Pope Francis’ Church.