A major effort is under way to inform stakeholders from Pacific Island countries and territories about the emerging deep sea minerals industry.
Akuila Tawake, Team Leader of the European Union-funded SPC Deep Sea Minerals (DSM) Project, said that a training programme had been prepared for this regional event in order to assist stakeholders from Pacific ACP (African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States) to participate in the DSM project in a ‘meaningful and effective manner.
‘Part of this initiative includes a series of training workshops on technical, policy and fiscal matters relating to deep sea minerals.’
Mr Tawake said that the first of these is the Pacific ACP States Regional Training Workshop on Geological, Technological, Biological and Environmental Aspects of Deep Sea Minerals, which will take place in Nadi, Fiji, from 13 to 17 August.
As well as using the in-house capacity at SPC to conduct the workshop, a number of experts have been selected to assist, including two internationally renowned deep sea mineral scientists, Doctor Jim Hein and Professor Chuck Fisher.
Dr Hein, a senior scientist at the US Geological Survey, has more than 35 years’ experience in studying marine mineral deposits, while Professor Fisher, Professor of Biology at the Pennsylvania State University, has spent more than 30 years studying biological communities associated with deep sea minerals.
‘The aim of the workshop, which targets representatives from government departments such as mineral and natural resources, environment and fisheries, is to develop and enhance the participants’ knowledge of specific geological, technological, biological and environmental issues of deep sea minerals.
‘Representatives of civil society groups from the region have also been invited and financially supported to attend and participate,’ said Mr Tawake.
Countries invited to take part in the event are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
‘Training methods will include lectures, viewing of relevant video footage, training materials, exercises and active discussion, so participants will be able to assess their level of understanding of various workshop topics,’ said Mr Tawake.
He said that the second regional training workshop, planned for the first quarter of 2013 and aimed at governments’ policy and law makers, will focus on legal frameworks, policy and legislation, as well as on strengthening the countries’ negotiation skills with the private sector.
‘A third workshop, scheduled for later in 2013, will focus on taxation and revenue management of deep sea minerals, and will target governments’ ministries of finance and their taxation authorities,’ said Mr Tawake. ‘These training initiatives are all part of the capacity building component of the SPC Deep Sea Minerals Project.’ (source: EMTV)