Multi-billion kina project awaiting approval

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Reports compiled by
GYNNIE KERO
The proposed Wafi-Golpu mining project comprises the construction and operation of on underground copper-gold mine and associated ore processing, concentrate transport and handling, power generation, water and tailings management, and associated support facilities and services, in Morobe.
The proposed project will be using the Block-Cave mining method which is an underground hard rock mining that allows for huge volume of ore body to be extracted efficiently while allowing the rock mass to collapse on its own creating subsidence zones.
The mine will be located beneath Mt Golpu, around 300 kilometers north-northwest of Port Moresby and 65km southwest of Lae.
Geographically, the project occupies a footprint that extends from the mine area to the coastal area with an infrastructure corridor that links the two areas.
The mine area encompassing the proposed mine and related ancillary facilities is located on the northern side of the Owen Stanley ranges, in the foothill of the Lower Watut River catchment.
Much of the mine area is steep, mountainous and heavily forested, transitioning to the board, flat to gently undulating Lower Watut River Valley to the west.
The infrastructure corridor follows the broad flat plains of the Lower Watut River and Markham River valleys and connects the mine area to the coastal area.
The coastal area encompasses both the proposed port facilities area at the Port of Lae where copper-gold and other ore concentrations will be exported.
The outfall area is where the mine tailings management will take place via the Deep Sea Tailings Placement (DSTP).
The project is predicted to discharge 360 million tonnes of tailings over a period of 28 years.
The Wafi-Golpu Joint Venture has extensively investigated options for the tailings management for the life of the both on land and DSTP. These investigations have confirmed DSTP as the preferred method of tailings management based on considerations of long-term safety, engineering, environmental, social, cultural heritage and economic factors.
The total onshore area of land expected to be directly disturbed by the project is approximately 1,405 hectares.
Regulatory Process
Any large scale mining is a prescribed activity under the Environment Act, 2000 as Level 3 (Category 17-sub category 17.1) activity under the Environment (Prescribed Activities) Regulation 2002.
Level three activities are those that may cause serious environmental harm and therefore are subjected to the environmental impact assessment process.
The assessment process ensures that potential environmental issues are identified in the Environment Inception Report stage before they are further investigated in detail and appropriate management measures are formulated by the proponent during the preparation of the EIS.
The WGJV has met the requirements by submitting its EIR and EIS to CEPA for assessment and approvals.
The EIR and EIS have undergone the assessment process and submissions were made to the Environment Council on Aug 31.

4 comments

  • Good news and exciting times ahead.

    PMJM had done very well so far with some existing mining projects in the country. While we appreciate his tireless effort so far, we also plead for the Marape/Basil government not to ignore or overlook existing projects.

    Can the government sort out existing petroleum project and other resource landowners first before boasting and giving too much high hopes to all the stakeholders of the new projects? PNGLNG project and other project agreement reviews are long overdue.
    PNGLNG project landowners have been given false hope over their rightful Infrustructure Development Grants and other benefits as stipulated in the Benefit Sharing Agreements. PMJM has been making empty promises to PNGLNG landowners over their IDG benefits which the state had not fully paid for the last 10 years.

    The Government cannot bulldoze and overlook resource owners’ rights everytime.
    Let’s not pretend to the international community and the foreign investors that PNG is a very good investment destination where the government truly honours benefit sharing agreements and fairly treats its resource owners.

    Regardless of our abundant resources, we will still be like the resource rich, yet war-torn and poverty stricken African nations, if the PNG government continues to overlook and undermines the plight of resource owners.

  • 360 million tonnes will not affect to ocean says experts.
    So do we forget about the Coral triangle environment.
    No more talk please about the Blue Planet or The Paris Agreement
    But please tell us ignorant peasants how many mines use submarine tailings in the world.
    Any in Australia? NO!
    As of 2015, there were 16 mines around the world that practiced DSTD.
    7 were in Norway,
    1 in Chile,
    1 in U.K.
    1 in France,
    1 in Greece,
    1 in Turkey
    1 in Indonesia
    3 in PNG

  • It is not a rocket science for anyone to know that DSTD is bad for the environment. As it’s mentioned by ArthuR above PNG already has got three why would anyone want to add more damage to the sea and kill off the living things there.. it’s a real wake-up call for. PNG.

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