The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the European Union- and the Government of the Solomon Islands, will host a national youth debate on deep sea minerals today at the National Auditorium in Honiara.
SPC has initiated this debate in an effort to increase public awareness on issues relating to deep seabed minerals in the Pacific, including Solomon Islands.
The debate will feature 14 youths from nine high schools in Honiara. The students have been undertaking training after school hours on the different aspects of deep sea minerals and mining so they can have an understanding of the potential positive and negative aspects of this emerging industry and what it may mean for the Solomon Islands. They are therefore ready to take part in what is expected to be a very proactive debate.
Stakeholders who are contributing to the training include Solomon Islands Government, Community Service Organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations and mining exploration companies.
“The debate aims 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 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 potential of 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 Islands countries and therefore have sparked 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 potential source of revenue and economic development for many Pacific Island countries.
The initiative is complemented through the European Union funded Deep Sea Minerals Project.