24 April 2017

Anglo American should divest from high risk deep sea mining

Multinational mining company Anglo American will be held accountable today at its annual shareholder meeting. The company’s investment in the experimental Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 deep sea mining project, is deeply opposed by local communities, churches and wider civil society in Papua New Guinea. These stakeholders ask Anglo American to divest from Nautilus Inc.

Anglo American is proud of its international commitments to sustainability, human rights, and environmental stewardship, but will they inform shareholders that their investment in Nautilus does not respect people’s culture and heritage?

“Anglo American, we are not guinea pigs for your experimental project!” stated Jonathan Mesulam from the Alliance of Solwara Warriors. “We in the Pacific are custodians of the world’s largest ocean. These oceans are important to us as sources of food and livelihoods. They are vital for our culture and our very identity. Solwara 1 is in the middle of our traditional fishing grounds. You are threatening our home and our existence with experimental seabed mining.”

Christina Tony, from the Bismarck Ramu Group in PNG, said, “Anglo American, Solwara 1 does not respect local communities’ livelihoods, health, food security and culture all of which are strongly linked to the sea. Our people have not provided their informed consent for this project. The Solwara 1 Environmental Impact Statement contains many gaps and errors – we can’t even obtain all the environmental research reports. By investing in this industry, Anglo American is complicit in trampling on our human rights.”

Dr. Helen Rosenbaum, Deep Sea Mining campaign stated, “Deep Sea Mining is risky business as both the environmental impacts and the returns are complete unknowns. Nautilus’ Annual Information Form, lodged with Canadian securities, emphasises the experimental nature of the Solwara 1 project. In addition, report after report[1] demonstrates the world’s oceans are already on the brink of peril. Recent research from the MIDAS consortium indicates a concrete risk that deep sea mining would lead to serious irreversible harm. With our Pacific partners. we call for a complete ban on Deep Sea Mining and for Anglo American to dissociate itself and its shareholders from this unjust experiment.”

Andy Whitmore, London Mining Network says “We welcome Anglo American’s desire to look for more sustainable forms of mining to meet society’s needs[2][3]. However, deep sea mining is not the answer. Instead, the solution should prioritise environmental protection and resource conservation while maintaining economic benefits. We ask Anglo American to divest from sea bed mining and instead get behind alternatives to traditional mining developments and truly cutting edge approaches hold the promise of win-win solutions for society and the environment. 

For more info:

Papua New Guinea:
Jonathan Mesulam, mesulamjonathan[at] +675 70038933, Alliance of Solwara Warriors
Christina Tony, chrisamoka20[at] +675 70942439, Bismarck Ramu Group

Helen Rosenbaum, hrose[at] +61 413201793, Deep Sea Mining Campaign

Andy Whitmore, whit[at] +44 (0) 7754395597, London Mining Network


[1] Reports include: World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Reviving the Ocean Economy (2015) ; The Living Planet (2016);  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) State of the Ocean (2013) ; Explaining Ocean Warming (2016); and the United Nation’s World Ocean Assessment 2016 which is a global inventory of the state of the marine environment and problems threatening to degrade the oceans.

[2] For example, California based Blue Oak Resources estimates that every year mining companies spend roughly $12 billion for virgin ore deposits. While tons of cell phones and other electronics are thrown out every year, each ton contains 70 times the amount of gold and silver found in virgin ore. For copper the number is even higher, with the equivalent of roughly one-third of global mining production thrown out in e-waste globally every year; ‘Urban mining’: UBC engineers say e-waste richer than ore pulled from the ground;  Can ‘urban mining’ solve the world’s e-waste problem?

[3] In Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report released last Wednesday 19th April, the company has announced a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry to “stop mining the earth altogether”. Read more: No Mining Required; No more mining says Apple; and Apple will stop relying on mining for minerals ‘one day’.