This is response to concerns raised on the validity of the PJV Environment Permit raised by Lagaip-Porgera MP Tomait Natassi Kapili on Feb 7.
Barrick Niugini Ltd (BNL), operator of the Porgera mine in Enga, notes that the mine, like all others in the country, operates under strict environmental conditions pursuant to PNG law.
These conditions are set out in the mine’s current Waste Discharge Permit, which was issued following the enactment of the PNG Environment Act (2000).
This consolidates a number of previous permits that had been issued prior to the introduction of the new act.
The process of transitioning previous environmental permits to permits under the new regulatory framework was a perfectly ordinary administrative process.
It was undertaken by the then Department of Environment and Conservation, in accordance with transitional provisions of the new act.
The company entirely rejects the assertion that this was done in an unlawful or extra-ordinary manner.
It notes that the same transitional provisions applied to all other companies in PNG holding environment permits of this kind.
Contrary to the assertion of the MP’s petitioners that the current Porgera mine environmental permit expires in 2053, the permit actually expires on Dec 31, 2038.
This expiry date was carried over from the previously issued environmental permits, which were issued in 1988 for a period of 50 years.
The company notes that the mine has always operated in compliance with the conditions of its environmental permits and will continue to do so.
The MP’s claims about impacts to the river system are contradicted by data collected through the extensive monitoring of the Lagaip and Strickland River systems that is undertaken as part of the environmental permit.
It is a strict Government requirement that the mine undertakes regular monitoring at a number of key sites along the Lagaip and Strickland Rivers to ensure that water quality and river health are not unduly impacted by the operations of the mine.
This monitoring has consistently shown that there has been no change to fish biodiversity in either river system.
Porgera Joint Venture