|Lockheed Martin: from defence to minerals|
Lockheed Martin is one of the world's largest defence contractors and has already sighted the draft decree (see below) the regime plans to approve next week.
While stakeholders have been given just a couple of days to make submissions, the company has according to those in the know, been well-consulted.
An article in the Papua New Guinea Mine blog (http://ramumine.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/us-giant-using-sopac-and-illegal-fiji-regime-to-access-seabed-minerals-in-international-waters/) says the American corporate giant is insisting on new laws before it enters into a formal venture with the regime.
Lockheed, which in recent years has been awarded billion dollar contracts by the Pentagon, is to then apply to the International Seabed Authority for a new exploration licence.
It already has the approval of the Authority to explore for polymetallic nodules in one area in partnership with the British government. It now wants to join Fiji as its official national partner for further exploration licences.
The decree has been drafted with the help of the Deep Sea Minerals Project and there is wide fear Fiji's interests, environmental and otherwise, will not be reflected in the agreement.
The Papua New Guinea Mine says the lawyer for the Deep Sea Project, Hannah Lily, has been advocating shamelessly for the multinational, even stipulating in the draft that "LH would not accept the jurisdiction of the courts of Fiji, in case of dispute. The sub-contract would specify that the parties would be subject to UK law and courts."
GOVERNMENT OF FIJI
INTERNATIONAL SEABED MINERAL MANAGEMENT DECREE 2013
(Decree No… of 2013)
IN exercise of the powers vested in me as the President of the Republic of Fiji and the Commander in Chief of Fiji Military Forces by virtue of the Executive Authority of Fiji Decree 2009, I hereby make the following Decree –
TO GOVERN THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PERSONS ENGAGED IN SEABED MINERAL ACTIVITIES IN THE AREA BEYOND NATIONAL JURISDICTION UNDER THE SPONSORSHIP OF FIJI, AND THE ASSOCIATED ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE STATE
PART 1: PRELIMINARY
Short Title and Commencement
1. This Decree may be cited as the International Seabed Mineral Management Decree 2013, and shall come into force on a date appointed by the Minister by notice published in the Gazette.
2. In this Decree, unless the context other requires –
“The Area” – means the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, as defined in Article 1(1) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“Contract Area” – means any part of the Area in respect of which there is in force a contract between a Sponsored Party and the ISA for the conduct of Seabed Mineral Activities.
“Exploitation” – means the recovery within the Area for commercial purposes of Seabed Minerals and the extraction of minerals therefrom, including the construction and operation of all mining, processing and transportation systems for the production and marketing of metals, insofar as these activities take place at-sea.
“Exploration” – means the –
(a) search within the Area for Seabed Mineral deposits with exclusive rights;
(b) the sampling and analysis of such deposits,
(c) the testing of systems and equipment, and
(d) the carrying out of studies,
for the purpose of investigating whether those minerals can be commercially exploited.
“Fiji” – means the Republic of Fiji.
“The Fiji International Seabed Sponsorship Authority” shall be the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Fiji.
An “Incident” occurs when –
(a) any ship or installation or other similar item or structure while engaged in Seabed Mineral Activities is lost, abandoned, capsized or incurs significant damage;
(b) loss of life or injury requiring hospitalisation occurs on board any ship or installation while engaged in Seabed Mineral Activities, except in the case of a loss of life that is certified by an independent medical practitioner as being the result of natural causes;
(c) the conduct of Seabed Mineral Activities results in significant adverse impact to or unlawful pollution of the Marine Environment; or
(d) the ISA issues an emergency order in connection with the Seabed Mineral Activities.
“The International Seabed Authority” or “ISA” – means the International Seabed Authority established by Part XI Section 4 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea as the organisation through which States Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea shall organise and control Seabed Mineral Activities in the Area.
“Marine Environment” – means the environment of the sea, and includes the physical, chemical, geological, biological and genetic components, conditions and factors which interact and determine the productivity, state, condition and quality of the marine ecosystem, the waters of the seas and oceans and the airspace above those waters, as well as the seabed and ocean floor and subsoil thereof.
“Marine Scientific Research” – means any lawful study, research or other related scientific activity within the Area, whether fundamental or applied, intended to increase knowledge about the Marine Environment for the benefit of all mankind, and not undertaken directly for industrial or economic purposes, and not significantly altering the surface or subsurface of the deep seabed nor significantly affecting the Marine Environment.
“The Minister” and “the Ministry” – means the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the Government of Fiji.
“The Official Working Group” means the official working group on deep sea minerals established by the Government of Fiji’s Cabinet Decision CP(11)316 of 11 October 2011, as further elaborated by Part 2 of this Decree.
“Person” – means any natural person or business enterprise and includes, but is not limited to, a corporation, partnership, cooperative, association, the State or any subdivision or agency thereof, and any foreign State, subdivision or agency of such State or other entity.
“The Precautionary Approach” – means that, in order to protect the environment, where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.
“Prescribed”– means prescribed by Regulations or other subordinate legislation made under this Decree.
“Public Official” –means a person in the permanent or temporary employment of the Government of Fiji.
“The Qualification Criteria” – means the criteria that must be met before a Sponsorship Certificate can be issued, as stipulated in section 20(2) of this Decree.
“Rules of the ISA” – means any rules, regulations, or procedures adopted by the ISA pursuant to powers conferred on the ISA by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that are from time to time in force, and any contractual terms contained in a contract between the ISA and a Sponsoring Party relating to Seabed Mineral Activities.
“Seabed Minerals” – means the hard mineral resources of any part of the Area, including those in crust, nodule or hydrothermal deposit form, which contain (in quantities greater than trace) metalliferous or non-metalliferous elements.
“Seabed Mineral Activities” – means operations for the Exploration or Exploitation of Seabed Minerals within the Area under contract with the ISA, and under Fiji’s sponsorship under this Decree.
“Sponsored Party” – means a person who holds a current Sponsorship Certificate validly issued under Part 3 of this Decree, that person’s representatives or officers, and any person or persons to whom the Sponsorship Certificate may lawfully have been assigned.
“Sponsorship Applicant” – means a person applying for a Sponsorship Certificate under this Decree.
“Sponsorship Application” – means a Sponsorship Application made by a person for a Sponsorship Certificate under this Decree.
“Sponsorship Certificate” – means a certificate validly issued by Fiji under Part 3 of this Decree.
“Sponsoring State” – means a State Party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, sponsoring a person to carry out exploration or exploitation in the Area in accordance with Article 153(2)(b) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea” – means the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea of 10 December 1982 entered into force on 16 November 1994; the 1994 Agreement Relating to the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982, and any Annexes thereto.
Scope of this Decree
(1) The objectives of this Decree are to –
(a) establish a clear and stable legal operating environment for persons sponsored by Fiji to undertake Seabed Mineral Activities in the Area;
(b) ensure that Seabed Mineral Activities are carried out under Fiji’s effective control, and in a manner that is consistent with the Rules of the ISA and Fiji’s responsibilities under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and other applicable requirements of international law.
(c) implement measures to maximise the benefits of Seabed Mineral Activities for present and future generations of Fijian people.
(2) In order to achieve its objectives, this Decree inter alia –
(a) Identifies the responsible regulatory authority within Government to manage Fiji’s involvement with Seabed Mineral Activities.
(b) Establishes a system for the Sponsorship Application for, and grant of Sponsorship Certificates under which Sponsored Parties will be authorised to engage in Seabed Mineral Activities under specific and enforceable conditions.
(c) Provides for the payment to Fiji of fees, royalties, and taxes in respect of Seabed Mineral Activities.
(3) This Decree is made on the basis that the Rules of the ISA and the ISA’s monitoring and enforcement capacity will be developed in an appropriate and timely manner with for the purpose of securing that Seabed Mineral Activities will comply with relevant standards and obligations of international law.