By LARRY ANDREW
THE Government will respect the rejection of the deep sea tailing placement (DSTP) system for the Wafi-Golpu mine project by the Morobe government and landowners, says Conservation and Environment Protection Minister Wera Mori.
“Money is money but people’s lives are more important,” he said at the conclusion of a three-day workshop in Lae.
The Morobe government and landowners have maintained all along that the DSTP method which the Government and developers prefer will cause massive damage to marine life and the ecosystem which is the main source of food for coastal villagers.
Mori said the position of the people of Morobe “is very clear”.
“The livelihood and future of the people will not be bargained for any amount of money,” he said.
“The Morobe government had taken up a position.
“We (Government) are here to listen to what you are going to say and for us to find a way forward.”
He supported a suggestion to appoint a committee to consider Morobe’s submissions backed by data and confirm the information therein. Governor Ginson Saonu said there was an alternative solution which everyone should work towards.
“The people of Morobe have spoken: Yes to Wafi-Golpu and No to the DSTP,” he said.
“We are here to find a way out.
“We cannot destroy the livelihood of the people who depend on the sea (to earn money) and (for food).
“This is (the) stand (of the) provincial executive council and members of the Tutumang assembly.
“It is Morobe people’s stand and we will not divert from it. No waste deposit in rivers, lakes or sea.
“It is only considered if there are no inhabitants like in the desert.
“Deep sea tailing in Huon Gulf must be prohibited. It is unethical and an improper practice.”
He said submarine waste disposal was prohibited by international gold mining principles and standards which the operators Newcrest and Harmony Gold Mining Ltd must abide by.
By LARRY ANDREW