By JEFFREY ELAPA
RAMU NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd’s deep-sea mine tailings disposal design and the eventual laying of waste pipelines have been approved by the Government, the miner has announced.
In a statement, the company said earlier it updated the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and the Mineral Resource Authority (MRA) on the progress of its environmental plans and how they would be carried out.
Ramu disclosed that it has contracted the American-Canadian contractor Brass-Resan-Candive to supply the needed materials and equipment and to build the company’s submarine tailing disposal facilities.
The company said the treated mine tailings would be buried 150m undersea through the disposal system to lessen ecological impact.
It said the system that inclues two pipelines with 800mm diameter would be laid on sea floor.
The company claimed during earlier investigations, it was found that some dead coral reefs in the shallow sea were in the pipeline route.
They would be removed to ensure the safe operation of the pipelines, the company said.
Ramu NiCo said blasting operation would be used as it is technically impossible to remove deed reefs at sea bottom using mechanical equipment.
The blasting is planned to be carried out next month and in March by a PNG licensed blaster and will cover an area of 50m long and 5m wide, with two blasts each operating day.
Ramu NiCo said the blasting would be minimal as each blast would use explosive less than 10kg, adding that the environmental impact of the blast would also be minimal.
They coral reefs in the area are dead and in the stone form, it said.
Also, findings from three underwater investigations showed that local fish population in 50m radius is very small.
Meanwhile, Ramu NiCo said it would continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure its deep-sea tailings disposal facilities would be built according to “high industry standard and best available practice”.
The company said it would conduct safety and environmental awareness at Basamuk community before blasting operations.