Probe finds Madang waters safe

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THE findings of an independent investigation sanctioned by Cabinet into the Basamuk slurry spill incident at Ramu nickel mine indicated waters around Madang were safe, Environment, Conservation and Climate Change Minister Wera Mori says.
Mori said there was no need for a fish ban in Madang because the seas were safe and the people should return to their normal way of living.
He said a water sampling test done by a State-sanctioned team comprising of experts and scientist from BMT Australia with assistance of technical officers from the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa), indicated that waters around Madang were safe.
“The test on mineral composition done on the waters immediately around the Basamuk area, including Astrolabe Bay, has shown that most of the results were below the permitted condition and some even below detection limits,” he said.
Mori said the report by the investigation team revealed that a number of minerals (including nickel) found in the seas were all below permittable levels under the Environment Permit.
“All of the results returned showed that they were below what was allowable in the permits so the seas around Madang are safe,” he said.
Commenting on the dead fish found in certain areas of Madang, Mori said the second part of the investigation would analyse fish tissues as well as sediments and be compared with the baseline studies done before the Ramu nickel mine was permitted.
He said the first phase commenced in December and has concluded and the second phase will commence later this month.
“So we are taking a stage-by stage approach to eliminate all the uncertainties,” he said.
“BMT Australia is a reputable firm world wider and their investigations and sample test in Australia shows that the waters are safe.”
Mori who is also a geologist by profession, said the waters around Madang were located in a region of high tectonic activities which caused an active release of magmatic fluids (from Karkar, Manam and other nearby volcanoes).
“I want us to appreciate and understand these facts in order to give fair reporting so we do not mislead our people,” he said.
“The natural environment including the waters of Madang have elevated content of metals like sulphur, mercury and others because we are right on the plate boundaries and there is a lot of collisions happening hence the number of volcanoes along that area.”
Mori said the recent investigation was in line with an investigation done by Cepa earlier into the spill incident which indicated no pollution.
However, an independent investigation done by Dr Alex Mojon who was engaged by the Madang government differed.
BMT Eastern Australia Pty Ltd was contracted to undertake the current investigation.

One thought on “Probe finds Madang waters safe

  • Minister if you could literally go to Madang and eat fish from the affected areas than your assurance shall hold ground. Otherwise, stop this convenient excuse of investigation conducted by specialist?

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