Communities file rights complaint


THE Sepik River communities have filed a human rights complaint against the Australian company PanAust over its proposed gold-copper project in West Sepik.
Early this month, 2,638 people from 64 villages along the Sepik River filed a complaint with the Australian government against PanAust Ltd, for failing to obtain their consent on the proposed Frieda River project.
The complaint, filed with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Australian National Contact Point, argued that the proposed mine posed a serious risk to people living along the river.
The statement said: “The mine, proposed to be built in the headwaters of the Sepik River, includes a tailings dam with an estimated footprint larger than 17,500 football fields, to be built in one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
“A failure of the tailings dam would cause environmental destruction and chemical contamination of the river, food and water sources and sacred sites, and result in loss of human life.”
The communities argued that PanAust failed to properly assess the environmental impacts of the project.