The Papua New Guinea Government has given the go-ahead for Nautilus Minerals to start the world's first deep sea mining project.
While still facing opposition from local conservationists and fisherman, the Canada-based company will mine gold and copper from hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor.
Located off the coast of New Britain, Nautilus says its Solwara 1 project is not in a fishing area and has a much smaller environmental impact compared to mines on the surface.
While the Nautilus project is the first of its kind Japan and China have previously expressed interest in making similar developments.
There has also been a spike in seabed mining and exploration applications in Australia.
The Australian projects focus on waters off the Northern Territory coast, and have faced challenges from local environmentalists and traditional land owners.
Image: Nautilus Minerals