Clash over project

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THE Government is on a collision course with landowners and the provincial government over the mining waste disposal system to be used in the K18 billion Wafi-Golpu project in Morobe.
The Government prefers the deep sea tailing placement system (DSTP) while the landowners and the Morobe government want the terrestrial storage facility (TSF) dam which they are prepared to provide land for.
Prime Minister James Marape who is expected to be in Lae today wants the parties to agree on a waste disposal system this week, failing which he will make a decision on it.
He wants the project off the ground now.
The project developers are the Harmony Gold Mining Company Ltd and Newcrest Mining Ltd.
Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori assured the landowners that the DSTP would not damage the environment, marine life and ecosystem they depend on mainly for food.
Mori even threatened to resign if the landowners failed to accept the DSTP method.
“In the event the people opt for the TSF, I will not sign the permit.
“I will ask the prime minister to replace me,” he said.
“I cannot sign something I know is going to have a major consequence.”
The landowners are basing their stand on an independent review conducted by a team of local professionals led by marine biologist Prof Ralph Mana of the University of PNG biological science division.
The review found that current design of waste disposal went against the requirements of a proper DSTP.
“The DSTP outfall site selection should not be near a populated area,” Mana said.
“There has to be an intensive survey of two other sites before a site can be confirmed.
“And the pipeline carrying oil, tailings and waste cannot run through an infrastructure corridor.”
He said the proposed site for the DSTP pipe at Wagang was not the best.
“One of the requirements for the DSTP to really work is that the head of the canyon must be closer to the shoreline by at least 2km so when the pipe hits 1,000 meters, the tailings can be released into the depths and will be hard for it to come back up,” he said.
“You don’t have that at Wagang because the required 1,000 meters drop is 10km away from the shoreline, and not in a straight line.
“So only 50 per cent of the tailings will make it into the canyon floor.”
The review identified the Morobe Patrol Post and Bukawa as more favourable sites for a successful DSTP, based on the sea floor geography.
Mana said if the DSTP outflow was to take place at the current proposed site, there was a chance some tailings could be swept up in the current causing “irreversible destruction to the rich deep sea biodiversity”.


  • Prevention is better than cure.

    Simple five word statement but is able to make massive difference..

  • Other mines in PNG are doing TSF method, why Wafi-Golpu to do DSTP method…Developer & State CHANGES (replaced) but the LO will live there forever and face consequences of the tailing method to be used…just my view, I support TSF method.

  • Simply follow the professional advice of Professor Mana and most importantly, go with the wishes of the people.

    What do politicians know about DSTP? People’s lives matter more than money.

    Simply do follow the right advice, do things right from the start, regardless of cost and we will have no problems later.

  • politicians please, do as the LO and their advisors says as you will not feel the effects of it, they will.

    Also how do we know there won’t be current flow any direction from the ocean floor?

  • Honorable Mr Wera Mori is an Highlander and have no clear idea of the marine life. I am afraid the current might bring the dumping mining waste back to the sea shore and will destroy the marine resources.


  • Government and the Developer(s) should go with the LOs choice because after all they will be affected and not so called Minister or whoever, whoever. Its their right! Whether PMJM replaced Minister Mori or whatever, whatever is none of their (LOs) business. LOs I offer my full support!

  • Why are the Developers so reluctant to go with the LOs terrestrial storage facility (TSF) dam option? They want free ride?? Stop the bullcrap.. LOs please continue to stand tall on this very important issue!

  • Government must listen to the people’s voice. Its better to prevent than to cure. People now a days are not stupid as was 45 years ago.

  • Gov no need for argue and pulling the string. LOs with their advisers know exactly what is going to happen in the long run of this mining live so go head with their plan and get things sorted out.

  • Prime Minister pls stand by the wishes of the people and more importantly take Prof Mana advice into consideration. At the end of the day Government represents the people and for the people. Wera Mori wants to resign by all means do so,

  • The government and developer Harmony must listen to the Land Owners wishes.
    Any thing happens later,they will be responsible for their own decisions and not to blame the government or Harmony.

  • People especially the land owners are no longer primatives or stupid like 50 years ago where you can play your fool on them. PNG is the county that has a lot of minings some are existing and some are already extinct. Comparing the amount of minerals takin out with the development index. It is really poor. Stop thinking about personal interest or personal gain. Think about the benefits of the whole people and the country. Do the right thing.

  • Please Government of the day stop arguing with the LO’s they have all the right to say yes/NO becuase they are once who will be affected later.Kisim nau na kaikai na tomoro? LO’s sanap strong na fight lo rights blo yupela.

  • The only advantage of DSTP is that it is very cheap for the miners to dispose waist.
    The disadvantage is that the marine life gets to be polluted.

    One solution is to purchase a ‘thousand kilometer pipe’ in order to displace waist right at the deepest part of the ocean where there is no reef or marine life, but only deep blue ocean.
    Sapos nogat, lusim!

  • Why is Prime Minister pushing for the project against peoples’ wishes and concerns for the environment and livelihood of future generations?

  • Harmony and Newcrest have done well to get Mori in their pockets and i hope he returns their bribes if resigning. Marape will also have been taken care of, so doubtless DSTP will proceed. It is just a shame Harmony and Newcrest haven’t seen fit to slip Mana a couple of million to be on their side too. It would have made everything so much tidier.

  • Good real estate around the Wafi Golpu area for a tailings dam to be constructed to cater for 10years tailings discharge and then expanded for another 10years.

    The Hidden Valley mine has been operating with a tailings dam ever since commissioning and no problems there with limited real estate a the site.

    The mining method will not be an open cut or pit so mined tonnes or crushed tonnes per day will not be massive, obviously will take time for a tailings dam to fill up.

    We dont want PNG to be seen as a DSTP country. As when the metals are extracted PNGs economy will depend on Fisheries which falls behind Oil gas and mining wrt to our exports.

  • Let’s not repeat what happened at Bassamuk,Madang Provice. Simply listen to the Professor’s and people’s advice. Human lives are more important than money. Politicians are temporary and only representing the government offices.

  • There is no need for us to rush, learn from other mines like OK Tedi and Pogera mine. More damages already done to the environment. Government together with land owners come up with the better plan before mine operates..PM has no right to make decision when land owners disagree.

  • God had spoken through the people and the Morobe Provincial Government against the National Government and the developer of Wafi Golpu Mine. “Please respect the nature. All creature in the sea, the sea itself and human lives along the coastline in Huon Gulf and the neighbouring coastal provinces depend on sea for survival.” LISTEN & LEAVE. DONT CREATE UNNECESSARY PROBLEMS.

  • Why new minings are under negotiations for operation, can we preserve some for future?. oh we are in the end of the world so stap lo ground na waste nothing so rausim olgeta. That’s the kind of thought that our leaders have right. Please our leaders critically think for future before making temporary decisions.

  • Just simply disallow the mining. Both way of dumping waste are not safe. There won’t be any regrets if we stop the mining and save/protect our environment for future generations. Politicians are bulldozing mining to enrich themselves, just like they did for PNGLNG Project. 19 Billion USD PNGLNG Project is not bringing anything significant/ tangible to the lives of the people, people are suffering instead of benefiting. It is bringing more problems and conflicts instead of peace and resolutions. If we cannot learn from that, we’re big time stupid. Decide now or regret later!

    • We need the money, we have to go ahead but listen to our local experts , that’s the knowledge we need to make good scientific based decision to extract the resource to make life better for all. Its that simple

  • Independent Observer,
    Read the context before putting your comments for consumption.
    Minister Mori didn’t object DST, he said if LOs go for TSF then he would not sign.
    If the lOs want change of location then it is possible as Scientists Mana proposed.
    By the way he is not living in a cave, He is a Simbu and a national respected Leader.
    Please have some respect !!

  • TSF (will impact on surrounding surface and ground water system if proper prevention are not taken.and is different from DSTP ,and submarine tailings disposal are regard as better option (if tailings is pumped to the great depth).
    Government was there to serve the people ,thus if either of two option are choose….ok urged the people who responsible to protect human health and to create solution that will protect and to improve the health of living organism and improved the quality of the environment to use proper tool to monitoring the environment.

  • Get this right. The issues currently faced is regarding where the tailings should be disposed. The prime minister has to make a decision that will benefit all parties now and into the future.
    However, if the decision leans towards abandoning DST for building of a tailings dam then appropriate compo needs to be made for us the LOs. Morobe province and huongulf shiuld get less because all they care about is themselves and not us and our future after all is gone and we are left with the waste in those dams.

  • Just respect the LOs wish because they are respect their aquatic lives, since they and us are not really even sure if DSTP is 100% safe

  • Government it’s time now we listen to our people an never entertain any developer’s. Wafi Golpu LOs suspport em stap go for it yupla gat olgeta rights.

  • TSF or DSTP not either is perfect, there will still be some effects to the eco system. Science results are based on extensive scientific research so if Professor Mana has done a study into the tailing effects which disapproves one of the two proposed methods, then hire another or several other independent researchers to do more research into the tailing methods. The results of any research is collective and agreements build around the prospective agreed method to be safer and binding. The Government must be held liable in future if the agreed method develops cracks or collapses.

    Some kind of reinstitution of damage responsibility must be agreed between LOs, Miner and the National Government before any legal documents are signed, because in the event a defaulted or flawed agreement is signed, it is irreversible.

    Good luck fellow countrymen.

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