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I'm scared: our kingdom is ill-prepared for mining



I owe a debt of gratitude to Nautilus Minerals' Corporate Headquarters for taking time from their busy schedule to respond to my concerns regarding their planned operations off the coast of the kingdom. I am impressed. I wish them all the luck in the world in this endeavor. I also wish they will find the mother lode of all minerals and exceed the quality of the 90 kilogram sample displayed by their CEO and President (David Heydon) in San Francisco last year.

The international mining community took notice of this treasure and it got me nervous. I am nervous because our kingdom is ill prepared to deal at this level of sophistication. Our kingdom does not have the resources to match and monitor what the mining community will be doing on our coastline. If this operation was to take place off the coasts of Vancouver, Canada or Sydney, Australia, both governments would pull out their regulatory microscopes using experts from various fields, from attorneys and environmental experts to geologists, to review the process. But understanding the kingdom, the influenced not the expert, makes the decision. In most cases, the kingdom's Golden Rule applies because ...“He, who has the gold, makes the rule....”

When big names like Jan De Nul (a Belgium-based dredging company with a fleet of large ships equipped to suck up earth from the ocean floor), Teck Cominco, and Barrick Gold joined the melee, it is no longer a brawl my friends. It's an all out war. And that is what causes my anxieties.

I am afraid of many things. I am afraid of the unknown. I am afraid of getting caught in the middle holding the bag of their mining waste and its aftermath. Since operations of this nature are relatively new and have not been scientifically modeled, I am afraid it will cause chaos and destroy the environment and the ecosystem surrounding the area. I am afraid it will affect my lifestyle as a fisherman. Yes, Nautilus will only conduct survey and research. But when will their research end and the actual exploration begin? With our limited resources, I am afraid of the only option we have, is taking their word for it.

But, despite my concerns, I wish that Nautilus will find a fortune at the Lau Basin. I wish them luck. But I also wish the kingdom is planning and prepared in the event Nautilus is fortunate to find what they are looking for.

Tama Foa

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