Stop experimental seabed mining in the Pacific

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Experimental seabed mining could soon begin in the Pacific Ocean despite the risk of an environmental catastrophe and the fact it is not a sustainable development option for indigenous people.

Civil society groups across the region are calling on Pacific leaders to slow down on this dangerous and untried new industry - but we need YOUR support for the petition.

Experimental seabed mining will completely destroy underwater hydrothermal vents. These vents contain mineral deposits but are also rich and unique eco-systems which contain many species which are yet to be discovered and which scientists believe could hold the secrets to the origins of life [1].

The mining will also involve the transport, stockpiling, trans-shipment and processing of mineral ores and produce millions of tons of toxic wastes, all of which will occur close to coastal communities that rely heavily on a healthy sea for their diet and income.  

While the mining is being hyped as good for island nations, indigenous poeple in countries like Papua New Guinea have not seen any tangible benefits from decades of mining on land and have suffered a number of environmental disasters and a civil war as a result [2].

The International Seabed Authority has warned of the need to take a precautionary approach to the mining of hydrothermal vents because there are still so many unknowns [3], but the European Union is sponsoring a project to legitimize and fast-track experimental seabed mining in the Pacific region [4] and Papua New Guinea has recently approved the world's first seabed mining operation [5], despite the opposition of local communities [6]. Both Tonga and Nauru have also issued exploration licences in international waters and Fiji will soon issue its own seabed mining licence.

There are significant unanswered questions about the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of seabed mining and of its underlying science. Yet the experimental mining is being fast-tracked without the benefit of adequate scientific debates nor any prior public dialogue and meaningful community participation.

Industry and governments have abandoned the application of a precautionary approach and any pretence of balancing profits with conservation, human rights, scientific knowledge and sustainable development. 

PLEASE sign and help indigenous communities protect their environment and sustainable way of life.

All signatures will be collected by ACT NOW! and presented to Pacific leaders.

References
[1] http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/catalyst-deep-sea-mining/ and http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/deep-sea-mining-could-destroy-t...
[2] http://www.actnowpng.org/project/Ok%20Tedi%20mine; http://www.actnowpng... http://www.actnowpng.org/project/Bougainville%20%28Panguna%29%20mine
[3] http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/need-to-prevent-species-extinct...
[4] http://namorong.blogspot.co.nz/2012/02/sopac-colluding-with-miners-to-ex...
[5] http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/pacbeat/stories/201101/s3115752.htm
[6] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK3ln2E9ZlU 

Send the message below to
ACT NOW!

I support the petition to slow down the development of experimental seabed mining as this dangerous and untried new industry risks an environmental catastrophe and is not a sustainable development option for indigenous peoples. Experimental seabed mining will completely destroy underwater hydrothermal vents. These vents contain mineral deposits but are also rich and unique eco-systems which contain many species which are yet to be discovered and which scientists believe could hold the secrets to the origins of life. The mining will also involve the transport, stockpiling, trans-shipment and processing of mineral ores and produce millions of tons of toxic wastes, all of which will occur close to remote coastal communities that rely heavily on a healthy sea for their diet and income. The International Seabed Authority has warned of the need to take a precautionary approach to the mining of hydrothermal vents because there are still so many unknowns, but its advice is being ignored. While we understand the mining is being hyped as good for island nations, indigenous poeple in countries like Papua New Guinea have not seen any tangible benefits from decades of mining on the land and have suffered a number of environmental disasters and a civil war as a result. There are significant unanswered questions about the socio-cultural and environmental impacts of seabed mining and of its underlying science. Yet the experimental mining is being fast-tracked without the benefit of adequate scientific debates nor any prior public dialogue and meaningful community participation. We need to adopt a precautionary approach and lets decide how we can better balance corporate profits with the need for conservation, human rights, advancing scientific knowledge and sustainable development.
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