The Republic of Vanuatu has commenced with national consultation on a Deep Sea Minerals Policy. This is the first in a series of consultation meetings to be held in every province.
Studies have revealed that Vanuatu waters contain large amounts of sulphide deposits within its exclusive economic zone.
It's believed that these deposits could hold substantial amounts of copper, gold, zinc, silver and other commercial viable minerals which could lead to a sustainable economic opportunity for Vanuatu if deep sea drilling is furthered.
However, the Deep Sea Drilling (DSM) Project places great emphasis on the importance of a consultative approach, and encourages all Governments to involve concerned citizens in decisions that may affect natural resources and the environment.
New Zealand has seen its fair share of Deep Sea Drilling which has become a significant issue for many people.
Norwegian oil and gas company, Statoil, was recently granted a licence by the New Zealand Government to begin deep sea drilling on the west coast which sparked outrage in the district.
Further upset took place when delegates of the oil and gas industry were confronted in Auckland by protesters leading a march from Cape Reinga to voice their opposition on deep sea oil drilling.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community and European Union, DSM Project commends Vanuatu for approaching the development of their deep sea minerals policy in an open, transparent and fully participatory way.
The draft of the national Deep Sea Minerals Policy is publicly available on the Ministry of Lands website http://mol.gov.vu and invitations have been extended to the wider public to attend the consultation meeting.