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The mining of Tonga's seabed is a worry



I have mixed feelings about Mr. Paula Taumoepeau’s touting his employer’s ambitious plan to mine the deep ocean floor near the kingdom. It is because I am always suspicious of good news that seems to be too good to be true. With that thought, I hope I am not coming across as an opponent to growth, good economic and environmental policies. Good policies encourage business opportunities, bring revenues to the government as well as sustaining a health environment.

This good news about exploration for minerals by the Nautilus Minerals Inc. worries me. Please keep in mind, this behavior is very common in people with small minds. I am a proud member.

I hope the “brains” at the Department of Natural Resources (do we have such department) should have the expertise to understand the mining process and its impact on the environment. I hope they have done their homework before allowing this company to start.

Need help? New Zealand is known for its pro-environmental initiatives. Has anyone bothered to ask their experts to review Nautilus’s request. I am sure, through its foreign aid initiatives, NZ will help. Has anyone bothered to ask or visit Papua New Guinea and investigate the impact of this company’s operation in their economy as well as their environment? Even cheaper, did anyone ask the PNG delegates that came to the Forum last year? Being the idiot that I am, I know my limitations. Therefore, I am not bashful to ask the experts to shed light on subjects that boggle my mind. (Whispering) Do you think our 60%, 70% and 80% recipients are thinking about this at all?

From my perspective, the impact on the economy is simple. Nautilus will benefit from minerals they find, and the kingdom will be given the mining waste as mementos to be buried in Tapuhia.

But, I wonder, are we (the kingdom) that naive and gullible? Do we really expect to gain a fortune from this exploration if they find the mother lode of mineral reserves? I for sure am one who think, we will receive the bulk of their waste not revenues.

In the event the kingdom does not have anyone who wants to ask Nautilus dumb questions, I volunteer to do it. My phone number is 1-801-230-7720. I will ask Nautilus simple questions like:

What type of operation are you doing? How are you extracting these minerals?
Would you conduct such operation in your country without environmental and economical impact studies? Would you do this operation 100km off the coast of Vancouver, Canada?
Will your government allow it? Why? Why not?
After retrieving the minerals, what are you doing with the rest of what you dug up?
Are they safe? Says who?
This is fishing area, what guarantee do we have fishing will not be harmed? And so on and so on.
These questions will be our risk assessment whether we are willing to accept the risk Nautilus will be exposing us to.

It is interesting how we claim to be among the most literate country in the world but can easily be dubbed to be robbed. I hate to remain silence while a robbery is about to take place, 62 miles away from the flag pole.


Tevita [dot] Langi [at] AMEDD [dot] ARMY [dot] MIL