MINES in the country could violate mining rules, and thus, endanger workers’ safety without being penalised if mining inspectors failed to do their job, Mines Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Puka Temu said.
He said inspectors are duty-bound to see to it that accepted standards in carrying out mining activities are strictly observed.
Sir Puka said as far as his office is concerned, it has the right people to do the job.
“We have had a very good record of people working to inspect mines to make sure activities are carried out according to the accepted standards and according to law,” Sir Puka said.
Sir Puka was particularly happy with the work of mines inspectors with the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) led by chief mines inspector Mohan Singh.
“I think mining companies are seeing that he (Singh) is a no nonsense man.
“He is a qualified person and he reports to me directly … I do not manipulate his work as Minister for Mines,” Sir Puka said, referring to the stop work order that Mr Singh issued to the Ramu Nickel mine in Madang province mid last year.
Then, just last month deputy mines inspector Lave Michael ordered a temporary stop work at Simberi gold mine in New Ireland province on grounds of health, safety and welfare issues.
“If they are not happy, then they can take us to Court,” Sir Puka said of companies that disputed stop work decisions and directives of MRA inspectors.
Meanwhile, Sir Puka said he had been briefed by MRA on actions it took on Simberi.
“Lave Michael went over in November and did normal mines inspection, and according to him, the company had to meet certain issues.
“He recommended mine closure,” he said.
Sir Puka said they expected the Department of Environment and Conservation to conduct an environment impact assessment (EIA) particularly of the river system.
He said the MRA officers and appropriate government department representatives would be in Simberi on Jan 28 and 29 for the review talks on the memorandum of agreement (MoA).