Alliance of Solwara Warriors

At A Glance

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is an alliance of communities in the Bismarck and Solomon Seas – in Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific, which have come together to call for a ban on seabed mining in this region.

The Alliance of Solwara Warriors is a group hosted by the West Coast Development Foundation, a Papua New Guinean NGO supported by Synchronicity Earth’s High and Deep Seas Programme. The Alliance of Solwara Warriors has worked since 2009, when the company, Nautilus Minerals, proposed to launch the world’s first seabed mining operation in Papua New Guinea. During this time, the founders of the alliance noticed that communities on the frontline of this development were not properly informed about how this would impact their lives. The Alliance of Solwara Warriors was therefore established with the purpose of educating and mobilising communities in Papua New Guinea, and uniting their voices to produce a clear message and demand.

The alliance’s work since then has included protests, petitions, and even a court case against the proposed mining project in Papua New Guinean court. A particular focus of the Alliance of Solwara Warriors is educating people in coastal communities about the real impacts and uncertainties of the proposed seabed mining work. The Alliance of Solwara Warriors also works to share the voices and perspectives of alliance members to a wider public audience, particularly through one of their leading members, Jonathan Mesulam. Aside from work on seabed mining, the alliance also focuses work on Papua New Guinean culture and heritage, mining on land and deep-sea tailings, climate change, and human rights in relation to multinational development.

Nautilus Minerals has suffered serious financial setbacks over the past few years, including significant divestments from the company. In November 2019, Nautilus Minerals was officially declared bankrupt and it was agreed the company would be liquidated. The Papua New Guinean government has also seemingly done a U-turn on its stance on seabed mining, with its Prime Minister, James Marape, making a statement in late 2019 that he supports a ten-year moratorium on seabed mining until mining technology is environmentally sound.