The Asia Miner

JUL-SEP 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 3 16 REGIONAL FOCUS: PNG & South Pacific The Cook Islands Opposiঞon Democraঞc Party's bid to put the Seabed Minerals Bill 2019 through "proper consultaঞon" has been quashed. Instead, as reported by local media, "the government forced it through Parliament before adjourning indefinitely". Opposiঞon leader Tina Browne said the Party did not oppose the exploraঞon of nodules in the Cook Islands Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), but she was not saঞsfied with the consultaঞon process undertaken by the government and tabled a moঞon to put the bill before the select commiee. The moঞon was defeated as government went ahead and passed the Seabed Minerals Bill 2019. The bill, to enable the "effecঞve and responsible management" of the seabed minerals of the Cook Islands, received much scruঞny and criঞcism at public consultaঞons, especially in Rarotonga. Consultaঞons were also conducted on the outer islands and submissions from the public as well as environment groups were considered, before the bill was dra[ed by the Seabed Minerals Authority. Tina Browne said the proper way of consultaঞon was to go through a select commiee where views from both the government and the Democraঞc Party would have been heard. The consultaঞon conducted by the Seabed Minerals Authority presented only government's view on the bill. Ms Browne said one of their other major concerns was the bill giving the minister responsible for seabed minerals full authority to grant the exploraঞon licence. She raised concerns about fairness, given government would also be one of the applicants – as well as the fear of officials being "tempted to do wrong things" with such power. The government said the bill underwent an extensive consultaঞon process. Deputy Prime Minister Mark Brown said the country should make use of its opportuniঞes through seabed minerals in the EEZ. "We are living in changing ঞmes and face mulঞple challenges as a country from climate change through to meeঞng our nutriঞonal needs. Source: Cook Islands News/ PACNews Cook Islands Government passes Seabed Minerals Bill Seabed Minerals Bill leaves government opposion unimpressed Nauঞlus Minerals is looking to sell its assets in its troubled deep-sea mining project in Papua New Guinea while it fends off creditors. Nauঞlus Minerals was to mine the sea floor between New Ireland and New Britain but has run into financial trouble and local landowner opposiঞon. On 17 June 2019, Nauঞlus Minerals announced that it had terminated the sales and investment solicitaঞon process (SISP), which began at the end of February 2019, as directed by the 21 February 2019 order of the Supreme Court of Briঞsh Columbia in proceedings commenced by Nauঞlus and one of its subsidiaries, Nauঞlus Minerals Pacific Australia" and, together with Nauঞlus, under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) (CCAA). The Peঞঞoners were also granted a stay of proceedings and protecঞon from their creditors under the CCAA pursuant to the Iniঞal Order. The Peঞঞoners and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in its capacity as monitor of the Peঞঞoners in their CCAA proceedings, decided to terminate the SISP based on the leers of intent received from potenঞal bidders when it was determined that none of the offers would result in the compleঞon of a commercially viable transacঞon. Nauঞlus said the protecঞon will enable it to "restructure its business and financial affairs". One of its lenders, Deep Sea Mining Finance, has agreed to loan it a further $US4 million. To date, Nauঞlus has been loaned $US18 million by the financier. But the company is also being adverঞsed for sale, including its Solwara 1 project in PNG. PwC are acঞng as solicitors. If sold, investors would also have access to its mining licenses elsewhere in PNG and in Tonga. Nautilus Minerals looks to sell assets Naulus deep-sea project faces uncertain future

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