Probe into mines’ operations

Business

By DALE LUMA
STUDIES will be done to assess the environmental and socio economic impacts caused by four mines in the country, according to Environment and Conservation Minister Wera Mori.
This includes the second phase of studies into the impact on the environment and communities caused by the Ramu Nico mine in Madang, Ok Tedi in Western, Porgera in Enga and Sinivit in East New Britain.
Mori said officers from the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (Cepa) would visit the mine sites and surrounding communities to conduct assessments.
“There have been pressing issues that have been raised regarding the Ramu Nico project in Madang, the Porgera gold mine in the Enga and the contamination of the Fly River system from tailings and other mine wastes in Ok Tedi,” Mori said.
“We will undertake the second phase of investigations into the spillage of Basamuk (Madang).
“Work will soon go into the second phase that will also extend to the Ramu river catchment basin.”
Mori said a team was already in place and an independent team would also be put in place to do testing along the Ramu River to ensure that the operations and the impacts from tailings into the river system was under the required threshold.
Initial investigation into a recent slurry spill in Madang showed that the spill had not gone over the required threshold, according to Mori
He said the Porgera and Ok Tedi mines shared the same characteristics in terms of its impacts on river systems due to tailing and wastes from the mines.
“We are going to secure money and conduct studies on the environmental and socio economic impacts that the Porgera mine has had on the people of Porgera which is important for Porgera to move forward,” he said.
“Cepa has also already written to Ok Tedi so that we could investigate the possibility of dredging the Fly River below the confluence of the Strickland as it comes out of Lake Murray and Ok Tedi River.
“We will engage people who would go and start undertaking dredging.
“We have today serious exposures of cyanide tailings in the East New Britain in Sinivit of the Wild Dog mine.
“Unfortunately when the developer of the mine left the country, they did not address the tailings issue.
“We have got to bring in people who are capable of cleaning industrial waste that are highly toxic,” Mori said.
“Therefore the staff from Cepa together with MRA (Mineral Resources Authority) will make a trip to Wild Dog and make an assessment.”

6 comments

  • The tide is turning the Government of the day is now really concerned about the well being of communities affected by Mine operations. CEPA wake up dont just grant Environmental permits for Deap Sea Tailings Disposal ,permits for Mine Acid drainage, Permits for dust generation, Noise generation and air pollution (Hydrogen Sulphide and Sulphur Dioxide other harmful gases) the limits must be those that are used in developed countries which will not have an increased rate in affecting the Health and Environment of the local community.

    CEPA and MRA must always sign or tie in with all Environmental permits. Health and Environmental audits to be conducted by the Government or a recognised world organisation yearly/annually to really assess the Health and Environmental impacts of mining operations.

    Minister Mori please include Lihir the fifth largest Gold Mine in the World and biggest in PNG wrt to Gold production, for CEPA and MRA to conduct environment and socio economic impact studies. The community leaves meters away from the process plant and has been exposed to pollution since being relocated.

    Go PMJM Government the Government of the people!

  • If CEPA have been effectively doing their jobs well (conducting regular monitoring and reporting the truth without undue influence) as stipulated under the law then there will be no sanctioning of such reactive probes. We know too well that statutory authorities like CEPA and MRA are significantly influenced by these corporate mining organisations including politicians. Those funds can be better used in other areas instead of the probe as the truth will always be influenced as has always been the case in PNG.

  • The GoPNG’s intent of setting up the regulatory bodies like Mineral Resources Authority (MRA), Conservation and Environment Protection Authority (CEPA), National Forest Authority (NFA), National Roads Authority (NRA), etc. were to carry out routine inspections, assessment and hold to account for irregular practices and regulate for the betterment of the country. What were these authorities doing if they were not performing what they were supposed to do? The chunk of Govt’s budget goes to departments and agencies that literally do the direct opposite. There would be no need for independent parties to do studies if the due diligence were done by the regulatory bodies. It looks like people with no teeth and dump brains are occupying the offices that supposed to be regulating at the space they were duly set up for.

  • Giving contracts or consultant work to cronies must stop. Yupla ol highlands go win pinis lo giaman na conn.

  • All socioeconomic development projects in mining, petroleum, gas, agriculture, fisheries, forestry and other industries have both disadvantages and advantages to our health, safety and environment. Whilst our country is rich with natural resouces, PNG still lacks technocrats, transparency, accountability, good financial management and governance to move forward from our present reality. Things are not done write because of selfishness generally. Assessing enviornmnental and socioeconomic impacts of current mines is not fair. The government is encouraged to do the same in the forestry/logging and former plantations owned during colonialsm and advise the government for a better way forward. For example, in JANT logging company and its worse destruction to the physical environment in transgogal in Madang, …..the destruction physically is overwelming. The plantations in Pak island in Manus province, Vidar in Madang and so on, the government should also assess the environmental and socioeconomic impact on livelihood…

    Please let us not turn a blind eye on other sectors and fairly assess them as well.

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