5th June 2015
Honiara, Solomon Islands- The Pacific Community, the European Union and the Government of the Solomon Islands hosted a national youth debate on deep sea minerals on Thursday (4 June 2015) at the National Auditorium in Honiara.
SPC initiated this debate in an effort to increase public awareness of issues related to deep seabed minerals in the Pacific, including for the Solomon Islands.
The debate featured 14 youths from nine high schools in Honiara.
Prior to the debate, the students took part in training after school hours on different aspects of deep sea minerals and mining to improve their understanding of the potential positive and negative aspects of this emerging industry and what it may mean for the Solomon Islands.
“The debate aimed to encourage young people and students to research and gain more knowledge on matters relating to deep sea minerals and to encourage a participatory approach whereby all stakeholders can frankly exchange views on various issues relating to deep sea minerals,” the SPC Deep Sea Minerals Project Team Leader, Akuila Tawake said.
“This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to increase public understanding of the key issues related to the management of deep sea mineral resources rights across the Pacific region,” Mr Tawake added.
"The debate aims to raise awareness and involve civil society in a process that does present strong arguments in favour and against. The economic benefits need to be carefully weighed by all stakeholders against possible environmental and social costs,” the European Union’s Head of Operations in Solomon Islands, Ioannis-Pavlos Evangelidis, said.
“I hope this debate will help sensitise the Solomon Islands Government and its people around a question that could influence future generations. I hope that collectively, we can reach an informed decision, rather than leave the initiative to the private sector,” he added.
“I am privileged and honoured to be part of this debate organized by SPC and the Solomon Islands Government. I have learned a lot of things during the course of the trainings. As a Solomon Island citizen and a future leader of tomorrow, this debate will help me make the right decisions when the time comes, but for the time being I am happy to be able to create awareness of issues relating to deep sea minerals and mining,” Debate winner, Ms Patisha Del Wate from King George IV High School said.
Deep sea mineral deposits, such as seafloor massive sulphides, cobalt rich crusts and manganese nodules, have been discovered within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Pacific Island countries and territories, sparking commercial interests from mining companies due to the high concentration of metals like copper, gold, silver, zinc, lead, cobalt, nickel and platinum.
These minerals are increasingly being recognized as a future potential source of revenue and economic development for many Pacific Island countries.