Pacific nations are extraordinarily rich in critical minerals. But mining them may take a terrible toll – by Nick Bainton and Emilka Skrzypek (The Conversation – August 3, 2022)

Plundering the Pacific for its rich natural resources has a long pedigree. Think of the European companies strip-mining Nauru for its phosphate and leaving behind a moonscape.

There are worrying signs history may be about to repeat, as global demand soars for minerals critical to the clean energy transition. This demand is creating pressure to extract more minerals from the sensitive lands and seabeds across the Pacific. Pacific leaders may be attracted by the prospect of royalties and economic development – but there will be a price to pay in environmental damage.

As our new research shows, this dilemma has often been ignored due to the urgency of the green transition. But if we fail to address the social and environmental costs of extraction, the transition will not be fair.

Trouble in paradise: climate change and globalisation

Nations across the Pacific now face a double threat: climate change and the consequences of extractive industries. Rising sea levels, more powerful cyclones and droughts threaten low-lying nations, while the legacy of the worst effects of global resource extraction industries lives on.

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