Tovosia: We will be careful in handling deep-sea mining

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THE Government will be very careful in handling the issue of deep-sea mining in the country, Mines minister Tovosia says.

THE Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification will be guided by the following international obligations and duties when comes to deep sea mining.

These include:

  1. To protect and prevention of the marine environment and rare fragile ecosystem and habitants
  2. The prevention reducing the controlling of pollutions from deep sea mining, activities and costs of ships by dumping wastes and other matters at sea
  3. The prevention of transboundary harm
  4. The convention of biodiversity
  5. Applying of precursory approach
  6. Employing best environmental practice
  7. Conduction a prior environmental impact assessment of activities likely to cause significant harm
  8. Taking measures for ensuring safety at sea and
  9. Non-interference with the rights and freedom of other states such of freedom of navigation and freedom to install submarine pipelines and cables and conduct marine scientific research

Minister Bradley Tovosia told Parliament on Tuesday the ministry will ensure that the legal and regulatory framework appropriately address due diligence, licensing, inspection and registration of the sea bed exploration and mining operations and the gathering and retention of the geo science tech.

He said where there is a suspected and non-compliance by the license company or the risks or impacts of the sea bed mining activities appear to break, the ministry will have enforcement powers including reasonable notice

Further to that, Tovosia said the imposition of the sanctions against the company, such an order requiring certain actions, amendments or suspension to work for programmes, a fines or referral for prosecutions for offences.

He said the Ministry will encourage an initiatives or incentives for local process of minerals extracted from seabed where there is no local processing.

“The legal and regulatory framework shall consider and make provisions for methods by which companies can can contribute to the broader local economy.

“This maybe through addition of fiscal contribution supporting national and provincial education skills training through sea board training with company scholarships or funding allocated for purpose when adult training is not possible and local services,” he said.

Furthermore, Tovosia said the Government will encourage mining companies to pursue local recruitment, requiring 100 percent of unskilled labour to be sourced locally.

He said more broadly the Government will support and encourage policy to safeguard these businesses opportunities for Solomon Islands nationals

Moreover, in regulatory deep sea mining, the ministry shall take into account marine scientific research and ensure that the deep sea mining activities do no obstruct marine scientific research promotes industries

Tovosia said the deep sea mining company that carry out marine scientific research is to share data gathered with the ministry.

“The deep sea mining company shall be required to provide a public engagement and information plan.

“If marine and coastal users likely to adversely affect by the proposed projects identified to anytime, especially through the Environmental and Social Impact assessment process, the company will be required to obtain informed the consent from the species by way of compensation prior to the activities,” he added.