The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010
MINISTER for Environment and Conservation Benny Allan has assured that work is in progress to establish an environmental improvement plan for Hidden Valley Joint Venture (HVJV) company to ensure the mine operator complies with all environmental laws of the nation.
Allan said this in response to representations by the member for Bulolo and community concerns regarding mine-derived sediment in the Watut River and added that the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) was close to completing an independent environmental performance audit for Hidden Valley Gold Mine in Morobe.
The completion of the audit would guide DEC in establishing the environmental improvement plan which DEC would work closely with the mine operators and other stakeholders to ensure the plan is implemented.
Allan said that a preliminary audit site visit was conducted in March this year and a report of the findings was submitted to DEC by consultants Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) two months later.
Issues identified in the audit included a number of potential partial or non-compliance with environment permit conditions and the monitoring and management of sediment discharges into the Watut River catchment.
He added: “The HVJV was instructed to provide a written report of the environment management actions implemented by HVJV in which this report was provided on Dec 10 and is being reviewed by DEC.”