The Republic of Vanuatu has begun a national consultation program on a draft Deep Sea Minerals Policy.
Past studies in Vanuatu’s waters have revealed the presence of massive seafloor sulfide deposits within its exclusive economic zone, which could contain significant quantities of copper, gold, zinc, silver and other commercially viable minerals.
The draft policy sets out Vanuatu’s vision and strategic goals in relation to its deep sea minerals, and will form the basis for future drafting of laws in line with the policy.
While Papua New Guinea made news for being the first country to issue a licence for deep-sea mining, more and more Pacific Islands countries are getting approached from companies interested in exploration and exploitation of deep-sea minerals. The questions that arise are: What are the risks? What are the benefits? What do Pacific Islanders need to know to make the right decisions here?
Over 300 exploration licences have been granted in Pacific Islands countries like Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga.