Landowner groups oppose disposal of mining waste at sea

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LANDOWNERS are unwavering in their opposition to the deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) method for the mine waste from the K18 billion Wafi-Golpu project.
They travelled to Lae yesterday from various areas of Morobe which will be affected by the project.
It is awaiting approval by the Government.
The two methods being discussed to dispose mine waste are the DSTP which the Government is leaning towards and the on-shore dam which the landowners prefer.
Prime Minister James Marape has given stakeholders until the end this week to agree on a tailings placement method otherwise he will make a ruling himself.
Yesterday’s meeting was organised by Morobe Governor Ginson Saonu for landowners of the special mining lease, pipeline and DSTP areas.
United Morobe Voice Against DSTP chairman and former Huon Gulf MP Sasa Zibe said the dumping of mine waste at sea could impact marine life and ecosystem.
“We depend on the sea and the marine environment to sustain our livelihoods,” Zibe said.
“Our communities should not be disturbed as a result of DSTP.
“So we say no to DSTP.”
Saonu backed their call saying other options needed to be considered.
“We have to look at all the options available and make sure we employ the one that best suits the developer, the Government and most importantly, the landowners,” Saonu said.
He described the DSTP as a cheap method of disposing mine tailings which had the potential to permanently damage the environment.
Saonu said despite the significant revenue expected to be generated by the mine, the people’s concerns must be respected.
He said PNG had seen environmental damage caused by mine waste and did not want Wafi-Golpu to suffer the same.
“For any disposal of mining waste on land or sea, we have to be convinced fully before the Wafi-Golpu project is to start,” he said.


  • We must say NO to this deep sea tailings placement (DSTP). Yes, this is a cheap idea or method of engineering for the rush of money. A suggesting here, why dumping the waste in the sea? Use the wastage as recycle to benefit the mine itself. Its time we give the engineers some good examination on how the wastage can be use in the mine site again.

    • Newcrest has the best engineers in Australiasia but they are driven by “cost saving” they prefer using the Huon Gulf as a big waste pit with the DSTP process.

      The Wafi Ore contains Copper(Cu), Gold(Au), Silver(Ag), Arsenic(As) and Iron(Fe).

      The Ore is Epithermal and will contain these metals associated or encapsulated with Sulphide minerals or Sulphur.

      The main extraction/concentration process will be Flotation where by alcoholic based reagents will be used to float the sulphies/Sulphur associated/host to the metals.

      The tailings from the Flotation process will be pumped out as Final Tailings. The tailings will contain 50-60% solids. The solids will contain Copper, gold, Silver not recovered in the process also Arsenic and other heavy metals.

      The tailings will also contain Flotation reagents/chemicals.

      The tailings will also be acidic as the ore contains sulphur or sulphides.

      The only control measure used by most mines for DSTP is monitoring the pH(acidity) of the tailings and adding lime to bring the pH to a neutral value of 7(pH of water). As for the heavy metals contained in the solid tails and the flotation chemicals contained in the solution phase of the tailings there is no process to remove these wastes. How can we remove or treat the tailings of Heavy metals and flotation chemicals before discharge? Simple construct a tailings Dam.

      In a tailings Dam all the heavy metals contained in the solids will settle. The flotation chemicals will be further diluted to safer levels and only the solution component will be discharged to the Sea or reused as process water in the plant.

      Newcrest forget cost saving and build a tailings dam so you can be termed the real “Miner of Choice”

  • Is DSTP a recommendation from feasibility studies done already? If so then there’s cloud of uncertainties hanging around with the study. It’s ridiculous to think that PNG is a experimental spot for foreign investors to come and do their fancy test. We are not a guinea pig or a lab rat! The fact is that most of our people live off the sea for food & everything hence DSTP is not tolerated.

  • MOROBEANS raise up now or you will reap what you sow. Marape will not feel the pain and sufferings your children would go through as a result of environmental damaged. Money bai kam na go but ol people bai stap na survive olsem wanem time moni pinis?

  • Dumping at sea is pure vandalism! Lazy cheap and very poor engineering. It all about making quick money and leaving a mees behind when the proj3ct is finished. The damage will last long after the money in spent.

  • The MOU signed by Bawaf, Yanta, Hangambu, Bano Association plus the clan chairmans of respective Incorporated Land Groups of the project area with the Morobe Provincial Government were against the DSTP. The land owners aslo make mention to allocate land for the building of tailing dam to avoid cheapest dumping of tailings in the sea and its adverse effects to the fellow Morobeans on the Coast.
    PMJM, we must respect the views of the people of Morobe na noken bulldozim decissions natingnating…

  • This notion of deep sea tailing placement (DSTP) is absolutely a hogwash proposition from the investor. It is an easy way out to make quick bucks and run leaving behind a trail of destruction to the marine ecosystem.

    The developed economies take advantage of our default position lagging in scientific knowledge. Investor is always in the favour of shareholders and not the land owners of the resource in the extractive sector including the government Given we lack in experience and know-how, we are easily pushed and shoved with the hard cash.

    Panguna, OK Tedi and Porgera should be the lesson books to learn valuable lessons from the era of misleading the resource owners. It is what it is because of cheap talks but how did the resource owners of Panguna, OK Tedi and Porgera would have known? Environmental destruction agenda wasn’t tabled or if it was, then there wasn’t sufficient light shed to bring to clarity the inimical adverse effect of the mining activity.

    The capital owners have made colossal money from our resources and the real and true owners are left high-and-dry on our home turf. The impact from both land and marine ecosystem will be felt current generation and the generations to come. It is that serious.

    Government must attentively sit down and turn a listening ear to the voices of the people and not the investor. The investor is here today and gone tomorrow but people are here to say.

    I admonish the Environment and Conversation Minister (Wera Mori), you came out and took a controversial position in support of Ramu Nickel. Nothing you say from this point forward holds any water and public is very critical of your leadership.

    We don’t want to brainwashed with extravagance of science for science can be explained to one’s own advantage unless it is independently presented from accredited international body of high standing and renown in the international academic community.

    Otherwise, the simple message, DSTP is “NOW” is the call and its getting louder by each passing day. Mining Minister John Tuke and CEPA Minister Wera Mori, on uncertain terms bow down to the demand and united voice of Morobe people, NO DSTP. It is simple as that. Simple people want their sea. Tailing dam have it on the land. Why dragging on making simple people to travel for miles to present their “NO” message?

    On the part of Government Ministers playing into the hands of the investors, its madness. The longer this drags on and frustrate the people, government is stirring the hornets nest and won’t surprise if we have another Bougainville on the mainland. The hallmarks are there, government NOT listening to the people.

  • Forget processing the ore in PNG and sell the raw ore to overseas where they have the capacity and technology to extra the metals effectively. Then everyone will be happy.

  • Yes PMJM you have your heart with your people. Listen to them. The decision you make will have everlasting consequences for your people. They will live with it, there are plenty of land available, instruct the company to dig tailings dams and dump their waste there. SAY NO TO DUMPING OF WASTE IN THE SEA.

  • The Stubborn and Ignorance and disrespect shown by the Government Ministers and (government) of our landowners, our leaders and the people of Morobe may lead to unwanted consequence. Leave the Wafi/Goplu issue for a moment and firstly sort out the existing issues created by such ‘rush deals’ in OK Tedi, Pogera, and other mines where the landowners have been left devasted. It was not long ago, moves like this have lead to Bougainville crisis, lets not forget that (Wera Mori), do not push it.. MOROBE says NO… and MOROBE people ‘mean’ NO…

  • DSTP is not the only available waste management solution, both Newcrest and Harmony engineers should look closely around within the mining areas to scale waste and I believe this will greatly cater the so called cost-saving development mindset….in other words, you spend money to make more money, stop the cheap deals and build standard tailing within wafi-golpu mining area. NO TO DSTP!

  • Don’t be blind by wealth, the environment is where our life depends on. Land Owners please make the wise decision for our people now and the generations to come.

  • The Wafi Golpu Mine Area Landowners Association has presented an Alternative Mine Tailings Waste Management Option during the Morobe Provincial Government Consultative Forum recently held at the Lae International Hotel in Lae.

    The Wafi Golpu Mine Area Landowners Association engaged a local engineer specialized in Waste Management which includes Mine Tailings Waste to present the Alternative Mine Tailings Waste Management Option.

    The alternative was well presented by Engineer Benguma. Benguma informed the packed forum that this alternative is new normal in mine tailings waste management. The alternative is land- based and will be achieved in two steps or two phases. In the first step the mine tailings slurry will be converted into a Tailings Cake material which can be safe stored on land in a properly prepared Storage Facilities awaiting further processing into value added products such as gold and silver and byproducts which can be sold to generate revenue for the people of Morobe Province and Papua New Guinea.

    This is the best alternative to the much opposed DSTP. Benguma informed CEPA, MRA and Morobe Provincial Government that this is the one stop solution to the issue of Wafi Golpu Mine Tailings Waste Management. He said we are ready to implement this alternative tomorrow adding that the Capital Expenditure of the alternative will cost less and the same can be said of the Operating Cost.

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