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.”
By DALE LUMA