ANOTHER explanation has been offered for the heavy sedimentation on the Watut River system.
Villagers living along the river, from the mountains of Bulolo down to the waters of Huon Gulf, have often said the sedimentation was due to slash and burn gardening and felling of trees by mountain villagers and mining by alluvial gold miners and recently, the Hidden Valley Gold mine.
They had feared that the sedimentation of the water and the banks were also polluted with mercury, which is used to separate gold dust from ordinary sand.
The locals formed an alliance, the Watut River Union, to find ways to settle the “pollution of their water way”.
In January’s issue of the Morobe Miner, the newsletter of the Morobe Mining Joint Venture and the Hidden Valley Gold mine, an article with the picture of the raging Kumalu River attributed severe flooding to “a natural process that continues to this day”.
“And like many other areas in Morobe province, steep topography, high relief, geological structure and continual uplift provide conditions that result in frequent landslides.
“The Kumalu flows on as one of the major contributing sources of sedimentation transport into the Watut River system.”