By LUKE KAMA
MINISTER for Environment Conservation and Climate Change John Pundari says an independent environmental audit on Ok Tedi mine in the Western, Porgera in Enga and Ramu Nickel in Madang will be undertaken this year.
Pundari said this in Parliament on Thursday when responding to a series of questions raised by Gulf Governor Chris Haiveta on the new Ok Tedi Environment Management Bill (OTEMB) that was passed by Parliament on Wednesday, and pollution caused by the Ok Tedi Mine to Fly River and the surrounding environment.
“The Ok Tedi Environment Management Bill was crucial to regulate the Ok Tedi mine, which is in its advanced state of operation, to protect the environment and the livelihood of local communities,” he said.
“The mine will be issued an environment permit under Section 13 of the Ok Tedi Environment Management Act (OTEMA).
“That enables the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) to require the company to carry out periodic monitoring of the river systems to ensure that the environmental values defined in the permit are maintained.”
Pundari said any new activity that would take place outside the areas covered under the would be regulated through the Environment Act 2000.
“These activities are considered new activities and would require full environment impact assessment to be done on the proposed activity, before a decision is made under the Environment Act 2000,” he said.
Pundari said with respect to concerns on pollution in the Gulf of Papua, and other environmental concerns, Cepa would undertake an independent audit of Ok Tedi this year.
“Cepa will undertake an independent audit of the Ok Tedi mine this year, as it is necessary to determine the state of the environment, particularly with respect to the defined environmental values,” he said.
“Cepa will also conduct an independent environmental audit into Porgera mine, as the mine life comes to a closure, and as well for the Ramu Nickel Mine with report made to the public.”
Pundari said the audit would also assist to determine the areas of focus and future areas of environmental management and monitoring.
By LUKE KAMA