The Pacific Islands need to protect their deep sea minerals, Tonga's Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Samiu Vaipulu told a Pacific-ACP States Regional Workshop on Deep Sea Minerals Law and Contract Negotiations that opened at the Fa'onelua Convention Centre, in Nuku'alofa today on March 11.

Representatives of 15 Pacific States are attending the week-long workshop.

Mike Petterson the Director of SOPAC, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), said today that the workshop will focus on the legislative and regulatory aspects of deep sea minerals.

He said the workshop is aimed at sharing information on a number of developments that SOPAC is working on, including developing legislation for the extraction of deep sea minerals. "What we want achieve is largely capacity building, as like any other economic activity, Pacific states are a little bit compromised by multinational and well-resourced companies coming in," he said.

"We need to know how to negotiate and drive a hard deal. We have to prepare ourselves as best we can by developing our negotiating skills, along with a network of people that we trust and know, and to work with industries and countries that we feel that will be responsible and want a long-term working relationship, and for our communities to benefit while the environment is protected as best we can."

Mike said some Pacific Island countries already had legislation for deep sea minerals. But it was a new thing for the Pacific Islanders to consider who has the rights to the minerals, who gains from it and how can we put in place a transparent system, while looking at the environmental issues, he said.

He said for decades the main issue had been the lack of knowledge as to where minerals are, what type of minerals are out there, as there are many deposits to discover in the ocean.

"But we are now at a point where there are few areas in the Pacific that have been identified to be attractive and that's a breakthrough. Now it is becoming an economic reality and to make sure that countries maximize the benefits, which is never easy and requires hard work so we want representatives to walk away armed with more knowledge and be aware of the range of issues we have to cope with," he said.


Hannah Lily, the Legal Adviser for the Pacific Ocean Deep Sea Minerals Project said on March 5 that the project stresses the importance for countries to put in place robust law and regulatory mechanisms for the national management of deep sea minerals before negotiations take place.

"We strongly recommend that countries have these mechanisms in place before any individual project negotiations start. Dedicated seabed minerals legislation will assist the country to meet under international law, such as protection of the main environment. It will provide clarity, stability to that country's operating environment and what it expects from mineral companies."

She said seabed mineral resources represent an exciting new economic prospect for Pacific Islands, but, in order to make the most of this opportunity, governments will need to find responsible exploration and mining companies, and work to set terms that provide sufficient protection and financial return to the country.

The workshop held on behalf of the SPC-European Union Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project is the second of five regional technical workshops. It is attended by government officials, non-government organisations, enivronmental groups and others.

The first Regional Workshop on Geological, Technological, Biological and Environmental Aspects of Deep Sea Minerals was held in August 2012 in Fiji.



Who and How to Apply

Applicants can either be Law Students (completing Law studies), recent Law Graduates or Government Officials. For Government Officials, the arrangement is to write a letter of request (via the SPC Focal Point – Foreign Affairs) to the Director of the Geoscience Division (GSD), SPC.

For Law Students and Graduates, please supply (i) a CV and (ii) a covering letter explaining why you are interested in this position and what you consider you could bring to the role. A full description of the Placement can be downloaded here.

For any enquiries on the Legal Internship Scheme, please contact: Ms Vira Atalifo, DSM Project Support Officer, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Government Officials

 Name: Divine Waiti

Country: Marshall Islands

Trainee Duration: 16 November 2015- 28 November 2015

Background: Divine is the Legislative Counsel for the Parliament of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of the South Pacific in 2001 and holds a Master of Laws Degree in International Human Rights from the University of London, UK in 2005. He has been involved in the DSM regional workshops and consultations on DSM in the region and in the Marshall Islands. During his placement with the Project, he worked on finalising the draft DSM policy and legislation for the Marshall Islands.



Name: Asterio Takashi

Country: Tuvalu

Nationality: Tuvauan/Palauan

Trainee Duration: July 1st 2015- July 27th 2015

Background: Asterio is currently a Crown Counsel for the Government of Tuvalu. He was first involved with the DSM Project in 2014 as a legal intern as part of his PDLP placement while studying at the University of the South Pacific. He once again joined the DSM Project in 2015 as a Government Official, to seek assistance in formulating Tuvalu's DSM policy and regulations.





  Name: Ms Patricia Grundler

 Nationality: Nauru

 Trainee Duration: September 1 - September 12, 2014

 Background: Patricia is a current Law student at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and works as a Paralegal officer in the Drafting Division of the Department of Justice and Border Control in Nauru. She helps assist the division in the consolidation of Nauru's Legislation. She joined the DSM Project for 2 weeks to acquire as much knowledge, information and legal assistance regarding deep sea minerals in order to help establish the legal framework/DSM Bill for the Nauru Republic. Patricia was born in Nauru and raise in Suva, Fiji





  Name: Ms Nele Semu

 Nationality: Tuvalu

 Trainee Duration: August 4 - August 16, 2014

Background: Nele is a Crown Counsel with the Attorney General's Office in Tuvalu. Her involvement with the DSM Team started when she attended the DSM Contract Negotiations Training Workshop in Tonga 2013. From that moment onwards, she was assigned to work closely with the DSM legal related matters especially the draft Seabed Minerals Bill. Nele's two week training was to (i) carry out relevant draft legislative reforms required of Tuvalu's DSM laws and (ii) facilitate understanding on the efficient implementation of these laws in Tuvalu, before they are passed by Tuvalu Government.




  Name: Mr Leonito (Jun) Bacalando, Jr. 

  Country: Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

  Nationality: Philippines

  Trainee Duration: April 3 - April 21, 2014

  Background: Jun is the Assistant Attorney General for FSM. He joined the DSM Project for 2 weeks to review and finalise the draft national legislation on the Seabed Minerals Bill and write an Executive Summary of the DSM Legislation.



     Name: Mrs Unaisi Narawa - Daurewa

     Country: Nauru

     Nationality: Fijian

    Trainee Duration: September 1 - September 12, 2013

Background: Unaisi is a Senior Government Lawyer (drafting) in the Department of Justice and Border Control. Her 2 weeks with the DSM Project has enabled her to work closely with DSM experts in imparting their knowledge and assisting Nauru in finalising their International Seabed Minerals legislation. It is important in putting into place the domestic laws and international seabed mining in Nauru. Unaisi is a Fijian national working and living in Nauru.



  Name: Mr Johnathen Kawakami

  Nationality: Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)

  Trainee Duration: October 21 - November 1, 2013

  Background: Johnathen the Assistant Attorney General in RMI, joined the DSM Project for 2 weeks in October to: (i) conduct a desk review report of existing RMI legislation and recommend measures to remedy any gaps pertaining to DSM regulations; (ii) draft a discussion paper that can be used for consultations to develop national policy for DSM; and (iii) a first draft Law for RMI's management of DSM that can be developed following further in-country consultation.



  Name: Mrs Yolanda Lodge

  Nationality: Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)

 Trainee Duration: October 21 - November 1, 2013

  Background: Yolanda is from the Office of the Attorney General in RMI, she joined the DSM Project with Johnathen for the same period and both worked together on the: (i) desk review report of existing RMI legislation; (ii) draft discussion paper for DSM national policy; and (iii) draft Law for RMI's management of DSM.






  Name: Mr Joses Gallen

  Nationality: Federated States of Micronesia

  Trainee Duration: August 2013

  Background: Joses is the Assistant Attorney General of the Federated States of Micronesia, joined the DSM Project for 2 weeks in August in order to focus on developing the first draft Seabed Minerals Bill and Regulations for the Federated States of Micronesia. 





  Name: Mr Daniel Damilea

  Trainee Duration: June 2013

  Nationality: Solomon Islands

  Nationality: Daniel is a Senior Crown Counsel at the Attorney General’s Office in the Solomon Islands. Mr Damilea was attached to the DSM Project for 2 weeks in June 2013, to focus more specifically on the relevant laws of the Solomon Islands relevant to DSM. 





Legal Interns

Name: Abraham Bualo

Country: Solomon Islands

Trainee Duration: 14 September 2015- 9 October 2015

Background: Abraham is a final year Law student at the University of the South Pacific, Emalus Campus in Vanuatu. During his internship with the DSM Project, he conducted legislative reviews on laws relating to deep sea mining.
“I’ve learnt so much from the DSM Project. I gained a lot of knowledge from the tasks I was assigned with. The Legislative reviews, for instance helped me to see the crucial areas the Pacific Islands needs to consider when drafting or passing law”






Name: Aldric Hipa

Nationality: Niue

Trainee Duration: April 27- May 23 2015

Background: Aldric is the first Niuean national to join the DSM Project. He graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from Emalus Campus, USP Vanuatu in December 2014 and joined the DSM Team as part of his Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP). His main task includes conducting a legislative review of country laws and participating in the DSM Regional Training Workshop in Apia, Samoa May 2015. Before pursuing his LLB in 2011, he worked as a Legal Intern at the Crown Law Office, Government of Niue. He hopes to use his knowledge and experience from the Project to strengthen Niue’s position and framework in regards to DSM.




Name: Mr. Asterio Takashi

Duration: 20th October – 14th November , 2014

Nationality: Tuvalu/Palau

Background: Graduated from California State University Stanislaus with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 2004 and double degree in Politics and Law in 2014 from the University of the South Pacific (USP).Currently completing his Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) at USP. During his undergrad period among other things, did research on effective management measures in terms of sustainable fisheries focusing on current Regional Fisheries Management Measures; carried attachment with a legal firm that specialize in family law in Palau where he also worked as an investigating officer.  Several tasks allocated during internship included the legislative review for a particular Geoscience Division(GSD) member country regarding Deep Sea Mineral. 


 Name: Mr Calvy Aonima

  Duration: August 4 - November 28, 2014

  Nationality: Solomon Islands

  Background: Calvy graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 2012 from Emalus Campus, USP Vanuatu and completed his PDLP in semester 1 of 2013 at the USP campus Suva. He is currently doing his Postgraduate Diploma in Legislative Drafting (PDLD). Calvy has worked in private law firms in Vanuatu as a legal practioner at Boarlaw before joining the DSM Team. During his undergraduate degree Calvy wrote two legal research papers on (i) 'Deep Seabed Mining: A legal Perspective from the Mineral, Environmental and Fiscal sector of Solomon Islands and (ii) Legal Implications on the Fisheries laws of the Solomon Islands in Light of Deep Seabed Mining. During his internship, Calvy was given the main task of drafting the Solomon Islands National Deep Seabed minerals policy and also conducted a legislative review of the laws of Solomon Islands that relate to deep sea minerals.






  Name: Mr Melino Bain-Vete

 Duration: June 16 - August 8, 2014

 Nationality: Fiji/Tonga

 Background: Melino is a graduate of Dartmouth College, USA where he majored in Geography and minored in French in 2012 and in 2013 completed his Masters in Environmental Law and Sustainable Development focusing on Natural Resource, Intellectual Property and Climate Change & Policy from London University. Melino was recruited as a legal and environment intern where he completed the first draft of Fiji's Offshore Minerals Policy and the Brochure on Environment and Biology associated with Manganese Nodules including other legal research tasks. 




  Name: Ms Theresa Momoisea

  Duration: June 9 - August 1, 2014

  Nationality: Samoa/New Zealand

  Background: Theresa is also known as Terry. She completed her Bachelor of Sport and Leisure at Waikato University in 2011 and her Bachelor of Law in 2013. She joined the DSM Team as a legal intern to enhance her knowledge, skills and experience. She felt that this was her place to start because of her interests in International and Environmental Law and time to give back to her country. She is passionate about the internship because of the new interests and potential benefits for Samoa. Apart from conducting legal research and review, Theresa was given the main task of legal research and to write a formal paper on the Global Ocean Commission which will be used in future when proceeding with DSM activities and providing advice to member countries.



  Name: Mr Eric Trent Iban

  Duration: April 28 - May 23, 2014

  Nationality: Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI)

  Background: Eric graduated with an LLB at Emalus Campus, USP and joined the DSM Team as part of his Professional Diploma in Legal Practice (PDLP) placement in 2014. During his time as a legal intern, he took part in drafting, research and legislative review. He hopes to return to the RMI with knowledge and skills acquired during his internship for the benefit of the people and the Republic.





  Name: Mr Teona Ivano

  Duration: January 20 - March 21, 2014

  Nationality: Papua New Guinea

  Background: Teona is a final year law student (LLB IV) doing his Bachelors of Law at the Univesity of Papua New Guinea. He worked as an apprentice clerk at the Goroka District and National Court House for 2 and a half months (November 2012- January 2013) learning clerical work and basically the organisation and legal processes of the hierarchy of courts in the PNG Judiciary. He aims to learn as much as he can in Deep Sea Mining during his internship. Moreover, he wants to be a Litigator and pursue a career in Environmental law. He aims to draft sound laws and policies for his country in regards to Seabed Mining as his country needs him.




  Name: Ms Marica Higley Vereakula

  Duration: October 21 - November 15, 2013

  Nationality: Fiji

  Background: Marica graduated with LLB in 2012 from the USP and is currently undertaking her PDLP in USP as well. She is interested in working for NGO's and passion lies in research work; "out of court" person who loves policy and legislative drafting. Marica hopes to gain a great insight into DSM law during her placement in SOPAC, SPC and significantly contribute back to the society and the nation of Fiji.





 Name: Ms Lisepa Paeniu

Duration: July 1 - August 30, 2013

Nationality: Tuvalu

Background: Lisepa is the youngest Tuvaluan law graduate to date. She graduated with a BA/LLB from Laucala/Emalus Campus USP in April, 2013. She was an intern in Samoa for 7 weeks at Ray Schuster Law Office (now known as Schuster Betham Annandale Lawyers) in 2010, and in April - May 2013, was an intern at Munro Leys in Fiji. During her time with the DSM Team, Lisepa was given the main task of drafting an explanatory guide for the Tuvalu Seabed Minerals Bill and Regulation.





  Name: Ms Taaitulagi Tuioti

  Duration: April 29 - May 24, 2013

  Nationality: Samoa

  Background:Taaitulagi is also known as Lagi. She completed her LLB Degree at Emalus Campus, USP in 2012 and joined the DSM Team as part of her PDLP (Professional Diploma in Legal Practice) placement in 2013. A proud representative of Samoa, she hopes to take back the knowledge she has acquired from the Project to improve Samoa's position with regards to its national laws, to help safeguard Samoa's ocean life and environment for the future.  



  Name: Mr Maito'o Hauire

  Duration: April 29 - May 24, 2013

  Nationality: Solomon Islands

  Background: Maito'o completed his LLB at Emalus Campus, USP in 2012 and joined the DSM Team as part of his PDLP (Professional Diploma in Legal Practice) placement in 2013. While being an intern in DSM, Maito'o was involved in legal research, drafting and legislative review of regional country laws and the RLRF. He plans to return to the Solomon Islands after his training with interests in seabed minerals. 






  Name: Ms Alexandrya Herman

  Duration: October 15 - November 11, 2012

  Nationality: Cook Islands

  Background: Alexandrya Herman, also known as Alex graduated from the University of Auckland. She joined the DSM Team as part of her training. During her internship, Alex was exposed to drafting legal documents and more importantly reviewing the DSM legislation of Cook Islands. She hopes to use the knowledge gained to assist the Cook Island government with their deep sea mineral activities. 




  Name: Ms Annie Kwan Sing

  Duration: October 15 - November 11, 2012

  Nationality: Fiji/Kiribati

  Background: Annie is Chinese/Kiribati but was raised in Fiji. She completed her law degree in 2012 at Emalus Campus, USP. She was an intern with the DSM Project in November 2012 as part of her PDLP placement. Amongst conducting research and reviewing laws of some regional countries, she was given the main task of reviewing Kiribati legislation concerning deep sea mining. 





  Name: Mr Panapasa Ratumaitavuki

  Duration: September 17 - November 16, 2012

  Nationality: Fiji

  Background: Panapasa Ratumaitavuki, also known as Pana is a final year student at the University of the South Pacific pursuing combined degrees in Law and Economics. He was attached with the DSM Project for a period of two months representing Fiji. An avid environmentalist, he looks to further his studies in the field of Environmental or International Law, and possibly contribute to development of DSM in Fiji and the region.






  Name: Ms Laniana Raikatalau

  Duration: July 9 - August 31, 2012

  Nationality: Fiji/Vanuatu

  Background: Laniana Raikatalau, also known as Lani is originally from Fiji but resides in Vanuatu. Laniana is currently studying Postgraduate Law of the Sea in Vanuatu USP Campus and also has been working for PacLII. As an intern, Lani worked on the Vanuatu Council of Ministers Paper and also reviewed the Fiji legislation.




  Name: Ms Aisiena Taumoepeau

  Duration: July 9 - September 28, 2012

  Nationality: Kingdom of Tonga

  Background: Aisiena Taumoepeau, also known as Siena joined the Project whilst studying Postgraduate Law in New Zealand. She has experience working in private practice and wrote a dissertation on DSM. Siena worked on, inter alia, finalising the Tonga Bill and Regulation, updating the DSM database and legal drafting of documents. 




 Name: Ms Amelia Ponton 

  Duration: Jan 23 - February 24, 2012

  Nationality: Tuvalu

  Background: Amelia Ponton, also known as Amy, is a graduate from Griffith University in Brisbane with Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Cultural Sociology). She was the first legal intern to the DSM Team – and indeed it was through her initiative in approaching the Project that the internship scheme started. Amy undertook the internship for further training and to enhance her environment knowledge, before going to pursue a Masters degree in Public International Law in London. During her internship, Amy wrote a research paper on Best Environmental Practice in relation to DSM, and provided invaluable assistance to Hannah in finalising the Regional Legislative and Regulatory Framework for DSM (the RLRF), reviewing draft legislation for Tonga - and other legal drafting and administrative tasks.






This Q&A with Cindy Van Dover was produced by the DSM Project as part of our awareness raising on deep seabed mining in the Pacific Islands region. Van Dover is a professor of Biological Oceanography at the Duke University in the United States and an expert on deep ocean exploration. 

The video shows underwater footage from Seafloor Massive Sulphide sites bringing to life the surrounding environment. Prof. Van Dover answers such questions as: 

What kinds of organisms live near the vents? 

Why is it important to learn about these organisms? 

Why should scientists be involved in commercial mining activities like Solwara 1 in Papua New Guinea? 

What can be done to minimize the impacts of mining?

The DSM Project is committed to building the capacity of Pacific Island nationals in the emerging sector of deep sea minerals in it's 15 Pacific Island member countries.

Various options for  capacity building and training in  law and environment are offered to graduates and government officials. Internship brochures can be downloaded here.

As of August 2015, the DSM Project has provided capacity building training opportunities to 51 people from the Pacific Islands:










Government Attachment with DSM Project Staff - Suva, Fiji

An adapted version of the Graduate Internship scheme is offered to Pacific-ACP Government law officers for an intensive two-week placement with the SPC-EU DSM Project in Suva, Fiji. Government officials receive tailored training, for example, DSM specific country legislation being drafted that may need assistance. They will also receive guidance in relevant general practice work for their country.

The content, objectives and suggested dates of the training will be checked for availability of the Project’s Staff.

International Seabed Authority Internship - Jamaica

Since 2013, the DSM Project has collaborated with the Secretariat of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to run a one-month annual internship in the ISA Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica.

This opportunity is available exclusively for Pacific Island government lawyers. It is a unique opportunity to gain behind-the-scenes insight to the working of this specialist DSM intergovernmental organisation.

Internship for Recent Graduates

This two-month Suva-based internship aims to build capacities for recent graduates in the field of law or environment to develop a sustainable source of in country expertise, where graduates can meet their commitments to work in and for their countries as interns under the DSM project. The internship not only provides training specific to DSM but also incorporates an opportunity for young Pacific Islanders to learn more general office skills, teamwork, professional conduct and critical thinking.

Law Graduates Internship Scheme

Initiated in 2012, the Legal Internship Scheme provides on-the-job legal training to law graduates that include legislative review, legal drafting, legal research and analysis, and formal interaction and correspondence with government officials and stakeholders.Shorter internships can be offered to students whose post-graduate legal diploma requires a four-week placement.

Environment Graduates Internship Scheme 

This scheme is open to individuals who have graduated in the fields of environment, marine studies or other applicable disciplines. Interns will review environmental management frameworks, undertake research tasks and gain an understanding of DSM environments, specific considerations and environmental management mechanisms, such as environment impact assessment.Priority will be given to applicants from the Project countries that are under bond to work for their government after completing their studies. Approval is obtained from applicants’ respective Government before positions are finalised.

Other Internships

The DSM Project also offers internship opportunities in Communications, Geology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). This scheme is open to individuals who have graduated in the fields of Journalism/Communications, Geology and Programming and Geographical Information Systems.

Other Opportunities
International Foundation for the Law of the Sea (IFLOS), Germany (one month)

The IFLOS is a one-month training programme in Hamburg (Germany) in July each year. It aims to increase awareness of the important work carried out by the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea for the peaceful sett lement of sea disputes and the further implementation of the United Nations Convention On the Law of the Sea. It is also a unique opportunity to foster dialogue between the academic world, the Judges of the Tribunal and maritime practitioners.

Rhodes Academy Centre for Oceans Law and Policy- Greece

In June/July each year, the Virginia University runs a prestigious three-week course dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the main principles of oceans law. The Rhodes Academy provides a unique opportunity for participants to broaden their understanding of maritime law set out in international agreements and national state practice.

Duke University Marine Conservation Summer Institute - USA

This five-week course runs in June/July each year and is a practicum in natural science, social science, law, and policy for professionals, graduate students, and advanced undergraduates. It immerses students in the world of marine conservation biology and policy, giving them a set of basic tools for conserving marine biodiversity.