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Deep sea mining: countries in Africa should urge caution, says new report

Deep sea mining: countries in Africa should urge caution, says new report

A report published by World Bank has issued a warning to Pacific Island countries planning deep sea mining activities to consider the potential damage to ecosystems.

The ‘Pacific Possible’ report also urges countries to ensure that the necessary social and environmental safeguards are measured in full before proceeding.

According to the report, despite the increase of deep sea exploration of minerals and resources globally, as “no exploitation has taken place to date, there is no real life data on how it might influence these ecosystems and the services they provide.”

The report was created to help understand and consider opportunities that exist for Pacific Island countries over the next 25 years and identifies the biggest challenges that require urgent action – such as the unknown impacts of deep sea mining.

Pacific Island countries such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tonga frequently are just some countries that have been granted permits to conduct deep sea exploration.

"Natural resources belong to a country's citizens and if mining does occur, those resources should lead to economic growth and social development," said Franz Drees-Gross, World Bank country director for Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Pacific Islands.

"We hope this comprehensive paper will help Pacific Island governments to identify information gaps around deep sea mining, build the necessary institutional and professional capacities and ensure sustainable outcomes."

Read the Pacific possible report.

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Read the April 2016 issue of Mining Global magazine