For those of you who have been following the recent near licensing of deep sea mining in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and were wondering why it was deferred, here is the latest I have on the matter.
There has been many stories going around as to why licensing was deferred on the proposed Solwara 1 site including a claim that there was a court injunction taken out by the New Ireland Provincial government but these allegations have so far been denied.
According to ‘The National,’ one of two local news papers in PNG, Minister for Mining in PNG, John Pundari, blamed the deferral of the licensing agreement on being misinformed by having conflicting advice from his advisors at the Minerals Resource Authoruty, the PNG governments division responsible for all mining and mineral exploration activities in PNG.
According to Minister Pundari, he had in his possession two separate documents, one with 11 conditions and the other with 12. The 12th condition was related to the preservation of state equity in the project. For some reason, the MRA had recommended the document with 11 conditions leaving no space for the National governments equity in the project. It was for this reason that licensing of the project was deferred.
The minister made his stance clear that he would go on to sign the mining lease as soon as they agreed to include the 12th condition in the agreement. Meanwhile, the company planning to mine has advised that the mining tool has successfully completed its trial runs.