The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
Environment and Conservation Minister John Pundari yesterday inspected the refinery in Madang’s nickle mine.
Pundari and technical officers from his department were in the province this week to ensure compliance measures were followed by RamuNico, developers of the nickel, cobalt and now chromite refinery, at Basamuk.
A visit to Krumbukari, where the nickel and cobalt is extracted, then on to Basamuk where the refinery is located, was the order of the week apart from meetings with stakeholders.
Pundari and Madang Governor Jim Kas visited Basamuk on Tuesday where he addressed a small group of landowners.
He congratulated the Chinese developers for their efforts in taking the project to its operational stage despite the downturn in metal prices.
The quick tour at the processing facility in Basamuk gave Pundari an insight into the enormity of the task ahead while balancing environmental issues rising over time.
“The developers have to contend with a lot of unknown factors when deciding to invest in our country and I am encouraged by the landowners who have expressed this understanding and supported the project in this difficult period when the company is operating at a loss,” Pundari said.
“It may be a rainy day today but I urge stakeholders and landowners to be patient as benefits will be shared.”
Under the department’s environmental permit conditions, RamuNico was required to have a six-hour sampling and testing of the mine tailings at the mixing tank before they are disposed of in the sea.
The reports are compiled monthly despite calls by landowners to have an independent assessment team to do the monitoring.