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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Second DSM Workshop's Summary Report

Held In Nukua’lofa Tonga
From 11-15th March 2013
Summary Report:
Don’t rush to do Deep Sea Mining in the Pacific. Haste Brings Waste!


Let me take this opportunity to thank the sponsors of the Second Regional Training Workshop on Deep Sea Mining Law and Contract Negotiations.
I thank the European Union and the Ocean and Islands Program of the SOPAC Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Commission to facilitate this workshop. I would like to express my special thank you to Hannah Lily, Vira Atalifo, and those who made it possible for me to travel to Tonga at such a short notice. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Helen Rosenbaum for nominating me to represent the civil society in Papua New Guinea to attend this workshop. Last but not the least a big thank you to my family for allowing me to represent my people at this training.
This Summary Report outlined the kind of experience I gained from the workshop.  It points out the lessons learnt, the benefits achieved, setbacks encountered and a few recommendations to help the organising committee improve in the planning for the coming workshop.

Experience Gained:

This workshop helped me learn how to negotiate on behalf of the civil society with the government representatives and the Deep Sea Mining Company.  It also empowered me to learn more on Deep Sea Mining Law and Contract Negotiations in general.  The mock exercise actually gave me a fair idea of how it is actually done in real life situation.  I also gained additional skills, knowledge and lessons from other presenters.

Lessons Learnt:

Some of the key lessons learnt from this workshop include the question I paused to Mary Louise Viteli about the right for all citizens to know about the Content of the Contract Agreement between the State and the DSM company (Nautilus) in this case.  She pointed out that all citizens have the right to know about that and that the State should make it public.  I flag her comments to the representative of the PNG’s Solicitor General’s Office who attended the workshop as a reminder.  I believe this was captured very well by the East Timor nation as shown in the television documentary produced by ABC’s Four Corners in Timor Leste.

This small island nation truly proved to us that they have a fighting spirit and would not sway or be swayed by multi-billion corporate entities such as Woodside and ConocoPhillips to agree to their terms and conditions.  They stood their grounds and argued that they get the fair share of the revenue from their petroleum industry.  They also pushed hard to ensure that the pipeline be connected to their island nation.  They were able to prove to Woodside through a local company Timor Gas and Petroleum that that was possible as proven in the bathometric studies of the sea floor.

They even went against the recommendation by World Bank and used the money from their Sovereign Wealth Fund to build and improve their health, education and agriculture services. 

A key lesson to learn from that video documentary is that they relied on no one but on themselves for the best advice.  This may not be literally true but goes to say that at the end of the day, whatever decision we make should be good for our country and our people based on sound and independent technical advice or evaluation report. 

Another lesson I picked up from that video documentary was that they had a bigger fight ahead of them and that was the need to collect all the tax due to their nation from the petroleum companies operating on their land. 

In addition, mining companies and the respective government representatives, International Seabed Authority and key speakers from SOPAC gave us a clear and in-depth knowledge and understanding of issues dealing with DSM laws, geology and the DSM technologies.  I now have a fair knowledge of deep sea minerals, how mining companies carry out exploration activities in the sea floor, what kinds of equipment they use, the money used to do their work and the risks involved. 

The KIOST’s presentation showed us clearly how they will use their technology to mitigate risks particularly in an event the slurry pipe breaks midway up or down in the ocean.  However, I am not happy with their plans to pump the waste back to the sea.  Neptune also emphasized the process of taking small steps one at a time to ensure that their activities do not cause negative impact to the environment but did not show us the kind of technology they plan to use in DSM.  Nautilus’s presentation showed part of a equipment left in the sea which was found some years later when doing the exploration in the same area.  This is not a good sign and an indicator of careless work attitude. 

Benefits achieved:

This workshop helped me gain more knowledge about deep sea mining, contract law and techniques for negotiation.   I learned about the geology of the earth and the deep sea minerals from Akuila Tawake’s (SOPAC) presentation which was also complemented by Jang Wan Bang’s (KIOST) presentations.   I must also commend Nautilus, KIOST, and Neptune for taking a due diligent process in dealing with the DSM industry.  Speaking to Jang Wang Bang, he pointed out that they will operate within the laws of the State.  That once again brings to attention the need for all Pacific Island nations to ensure that all their Laws, Procedures, Policies, and Strategies MUST be in place prior to issuing exploration and exploitation licenses to DSM companies.  We cannot totally blame DSM companies if we fail to do our part.  As a civil society representative, I am happy that I was able to get our precautionary principle and due diligent messages across to the rest of the participants. 

The setbacks:

The Pacific- ACP States Regional Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Deep Sea Minerals Exploration and Exploitation and the Precautionary Approach In A Deep Sea Mining Content reports,
 should have been sent out to all the participants a month early and not a few weeks before the workshop.   That would give us sufficient time to read and also gauge the views from other stakeholders prior to attending this workshop.

Recommendations for improvement:

I recommend that SOPAC should send us key documents in advance – a month or two leading up to the workshop.  This will give us ample time to gauge views from other members prior to attending the workshop.


I call on all Pacific Island nations to follow the due diligent and the Precautionary Approach in DSM.  We MUST not rush into DSM as we are not living on life support.  We are a resilient breed of people who have sailed our open seas with sailing canoes and without compass, climbed the tallest and rugged mountains on bare foot, and swam across fast flowing rivers and lakes full of crocodiles, snakes and other dangerous wild animals without safety gears.  Not even the mosquitoes were able to wipe us out of the face of the earth.  We lived off our seas, rivers, lakes and oceans using rudimentary tools for more than 50,000 years.  Who said we will die now if there’s no deep sea mining.  Our land, sea, air and water is our life.  Caution: Don’t Rush. Haste Brings Waste! 

Malo 'au pito

Wenceslaus Magun
The National Coordinator
Mas Kagin Tapani (MKT)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Leatherback Protected Under PNG Laws

From Jeff Kinch: The leatherback turtle is currently the only sea turtle in PNG that is listed as protected fauna under the 1976 Fauna (Protection and Control) Act (Kula and George, 1996), which stipulates that any person who knowingly buys, sells, offers or  consigns for sale, or has in possession or control of a protected animal is guilty of an offence and the penalty is K 500. Any person who takes (kills) a protected animal, in contravention of a condition of a permit is guilty of an offence and the penalty is K 40/animal.

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Open Letter for Sponsorship or In-Kind Donation

The article in today's The National Newspaper (Friday 22, March 2013)  has instigated us to make this public appeal for assistance in order to sustain our Sea Turtle Restoration and Protection Project in Madang.
POB 1312, Port Moresby, National Capital District, PNG
+ (675) 71959665 •

Friday 22 March, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Sir/Madam,


We are applying for sponsorship or donation of in-kind support for our
marine education awareness program for our Sea Turtle Restoration and
Protection Project in Madang in order to achieve our organizations
project goal and vision to help protect and restore the declining
population of the endangered leatherback turtles and other marine
habitat and biodiversity in Papua New Guinea. We believe your
organisation has been assisting NGO’s and charity groups by way of
donations in cash or kind. Our organizations are in urgent need of
producing educational awareness materials, video documentaries,
promotional materials, and meetings and awareness for all our coastal
and offshore island schools in Madang.

Our organisation is at present adapting an alternative to marine
protected areas, using the conservation deeds approach which are
created and managed by communities not regulators.
Conservation deeds in Papua New Guinea are the result of a
community-driven process that creates a locally managed conservation
area, and a long term community stake in the protection of natural
resources in ways that also meet the economic and social needs of the

We are now applying this model to coastal/maritime communities of
Madang as our pilot project site in Papua New Guinea. We envision a
maritime conservation process planned and implemented by the partners:
each local (coastal) community, Gildipasi planning committee (local
CBO), Mirap and KarKum (Duergo) STRP Committees, STRP Community
Facilitators. Community members will be the ones to actually set up
their marine conservation areas and eventually sign conservation

We have heard personally from leaders and people in coastal village
who know in their hearts that they have to do something about the
decline, not only in the number of sea turtles frequenting their
beaches, but also the decline in the entire fisheries resources. They
are beginning to realize that they themselves had been and still are
one of the causes of the decreasing fish stocks (and sea turtles).
They also know that outside interests such as commercial fishing, sea
bed mining, sea tailings disposal will also impact their marine
Our goal is getting them through a process to think and work out what
they can do to address this issue and to develop actions plans to move
forward. Our effort has seen Karkum village in Madang, established its
locally managed marine area using conservation deed in 2008 (Please
see the media article).

In 2007, we developed and facilitated a yearlong series of
conservation deed training workshops in villages along the north coast
of Papua New Guinea.

We worked closely with community partners to hold trainings and
community development activities for a total of 8 villages
representing approximately 3,500 people. Through this process, the
communities came together for workshops in sea turtle and marine
resource protection identify conservation measures to which they will
choose in exchange for support of community needs, such as health
centers and books for libraries and other social and infrastructure
developments. Additionally, the communities have requested help in
fighting the threat of deep-sea mining. As the conservation deed
process continues, we are providing assistance and consultation to
villagers on the best way to address these threats.

We have developed a core group of activist volunteers to assist with
the conservation deed process and other efforts in the region. The
volunteers in several communities are now conducting land and
marine-based resource surveys to provide detailed parameters for
developing conservation deeds. Village leaders and volunteers, as well
as individual resource owners, are highly interested in moving the
conservation deed process forward. We have continued to conduct
resource awareness seminars, surveys, and deed development into 2008.

Concurrent with the work to gain community support for immediate sea
turtle protections, we are building awareness of the impacts on
coastal villages of sea bed mining, sea tailings disposal, commercial
fishing, pollution and related issues. We are also working to educate
governmental leaders, university professors, urban professionals and
others in the nation about the financial and environmental impacts of
these issues. This year we are working to further engage these groups
and individuals in preparing an international call to protect PNG
waters from sea bed mining.

For further information and queries please do not hesitate to contact
Mr. Wenceslaus Magun on telephone number digicel 719 59665
or email:

We can supply further information should you require them.

For further recommendation of our efforts please contact the Education
Officer for Mahonia Na Dari, Ms Adolphina Luvongit on: or Damien Ase on

Yours sincerely,

The National Coordinator