THE joint venture partners in the Ramu nickel project are supporting the decision of the national court in Madang to proceed with the construction of a deep-sea tailings placement system (DSTP).
The court has ruled that the construction of the DSTP can now be completed.
Highlands Pacific managing director John Gooding said the partners – MCC Ramu Nico Ltd, Mineral Resources Ramu Ltd (representing the state), Mineral Resources Madang Ltd (representing landowners) and Highlands Pacific – supported the decision, saying it provided a practical way to resolve an extremely important issue for the project and the PNG mining industry.
“We look forward to completing construction with the DSTP being the last major component after the significant disruption of the last six months,” he said.
Gooding said this would be an opportunity for the facts on DSTP to be presented, some of which included:
* The tailings are of low toxicity which are treated and neutralised prior to release;
* The depth of the pipe outflow will be 450ft below sea level with the neutralsed slurry dropping to much deeper depths;
* The annual tailings represent less than 7% of the 80 million tones of sediment estimated to be deposited annually by rivers in the same area (which has occurred for thousands of years)
* The significant number of independent studies undertaken as part of the environmental approval process which occurred in 2001; and
* Monitoring systems and compliance standards will be in place for the projects duration
Highlands Pacific owns a 8.56% stake in the Ramu nickel/cobalt project worth US$1.4 billion.