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Friday, September 14, 2012

An open letter to Mel Togolo on seabed mining

Wenceslaus Magun | Australian Association for the Advancement of Pacific Studies | PNG Attitude
GOOD MORNING MEL*. I have great respect for you but not for Nautilus's experimental seabed mining.
I know deep within your heart and in your subconscious sense, you are not in favour of the experimental seabed mining.
As an ex seminarian, I challenge you to probe once again into your moral and ethical decision to support Nautilus a foreign company that truly does not care if the lives of indigenous Papua New Guineans are going to be affected or not should there be any risk occurring.
The company and the Government of Papua New Guinea does not have the infrastructure, funds, and the capacity to mitigate any such unplanned risks. You have not taken into account the precautionary principals as your primary social responsibility.
You are only developing your Environmental Management Plan. Logically this should have been the first thing to do and that you should have gauged views from the public prior to requesting to be granted a 20-year mining lease licence.
Believe me we are no longer ignorant and fools and can easily be listening to your crap of lies. We now know that your experimental seabed mining will have more negative detrimental impact on our marine habitat, cultures, food source, and dignity.
Whilst I am not a lawyer or a marine scientist the facts presented to us by our scientific advisor Professor Richard Steiner, Dr Helen Rosenbaum and other journals on this subject gives us sufficient information to believe that your experimental seabed mining will have more negative impact to us in all fronts than the gains you boats so much of.
Listen Mel. PNG is your country. We are your people. Stand up for us now.
The National Fisheries Authority, the Opposition leader and his team in the Opposition, Governor for Oro, Governor for Milne Bay, Governor for Manus, Governor for Madang, New Ireland Provincial Government, the resource owners of New Ireland, East New Britain, Madang, Milne Bay and university students from these respective provinces as well as individuals, scientists, learned friends from PNG and abroad are all opposed to your venture and are supporting our call to stop your experimental seabed mining.
We are united! We demand that you tell your associates in Nautilus to pack up and leave our waters, our sovereign independent State of Papua New Guinea where our forefathers have lived for more than 50,000 years.
They knew better how to survive on their land and sea and we desire to follow their footsteps. Our natural resources have provided sustenance and shelter. We have deep spiritual and emotional connections with our environment that gives us our dignity.
Nearly all our indigenous tribes on this land recognise this reciprocal relationship. We desire to pass on the pristine, unique, diverse biodiversity and habitat from our natural resources to our children and grand children and great grand children of which we have borrowed from them this richly blessed country.
We are custodians to our resources and have an obligation to ensure that all is well, safe, healthy and friendly as stipulated in the Somare Temu Vision 2050 statement.
We cannot sit back and continue to remain passive to the ongoing pollution and pillaging of our rich habitat and biodiversity, traditional cultures, and spirituality by some neo-colonialists wearing the sheep coat as pioneers of seabed mining boasting of "redeeming" us from our economic and social woes.
Money is not the essence of life. Life comes from God. And that life is sustained by the beauty and abundance of our natural resources. We have been called upon to be stewards of God's creation. This is our strength.
Finally, Mel, how comes you are responding now to Gangai and not to my list of questions I had sent to you almost a year ago?
I have great respect for you but not for the industry.
* Mel Togolo is PNG country manager for Nautilus Minerals. He has over 30 years of experience in senior roles, working for industry and government both in Papua New Guinea and abroad. He is on the Executive Business Council of Papua New Guinea. Mr. Togolo has represented industry at the board level, including roles at Westpac-PNG Limited, Highlands Gold Limited and Bougainville Copper Limited, and was also Deputy Chairman of the Investment Promotion Authority of Papua New Guinea. Prior to his appointment at Nautilus he worked for ten years as the General Manager of Corporate Affairs at Placer Dome Niugini Limited. [Nautilus website]

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