By WALLACE KIALA
WORK on the Ramu nickel mine’s deep sea tailings disposal system must be stopped, the National Court sitting in Madang ruled last Wednesday.
Ruling in favour of Madang province landowners, Justice David Cannings refused the applications by developer Chinese Metallurgical Corporation Group (MCC) and Mineral Resources Authority to set aside the earlier injunction of March 19.
Justice Cannings said the plaintiffs had an arguable case and there was evidence of probable significant biological harm by the dumping.
“The developer may construct the system on land but not be allowed to disturb the offshore environment in anyway,” he said.
The latest injunction was sought by landowners to prevent MCC from carrying out any related or construction work on the mine’s deep sea tailings system.
Meanwhile, the landowners are preparing the main case to permanently stop the State and MCC from going ahead with preliminary preparations at the mine without having in place, and having available to all parties concerned, a reliable environmental impact assessment report.
The landowners claimed the environmental permit that was issued by the Environment and Conservation Department was granted under the repealed Environmental Planning Act.
They claimed that even the State relied upon environmental impact assessment report done by MCC to issue the permit when it should have engaged an independent body to do the report.
In the main case, the landowners wanted MCC to fund an independent environment impact assessment of the deep sea tailings placement system.
They wanted all defendants to provide environmental plans and approvals and related documents concerning the Ramu nickel project.
Counsel representing the landowners, Tiffany Nonggorr, told reporters last Saturday that while there existed so much intensity about the development benefits from the mine, the environmental impact on the people’s livelihood was of greater concern.
The defendants in this case are MCC, Mineral Resources Authority, Dr Wari Iamo as director of Environment, Environment and Conservation Department and the State.